The Prepper Journal http://www.theprepperjournal.com Prepping, Survival and Common Sense Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:09:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Bullets for Barter: Good Idea or Disaster Waiting to Happen?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/30/bullets-for-barter-good-idea-or-disaster-waiting-to-happen/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/30/bullets-for-barter-good-idea-or-disaster-waiting-to-happen/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:09:03 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14821 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

So many articles have been written on the subject of bartering for preppers from many different viewpoints. Bartering is seen by many as the natural method people will use in order to conduct commerce when the grid goes down. If the economy collapses, as some fear and our money supply disappears, people will go back […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

So many articles have been written on the subject of bartering for preppers from many different viewpoints. Bartering is seen by many as the natural method people will use in order to conduct commerce when the grid goes down. If the economy collapses, as some fear and our money supply disappears, people will go back to trading goods or services they have for goods and services others have. It makes sense on the face of it, but I personally don’t think we will be quickly setting up shops outside our homes and offering our wares for a long time – possibly decades after any hypothetical collapse.

In a true collapse I can certainly see the importance of bartering after SHTF. I think to facilitate bartering, it makes sense to have some items you can trade although I tend to believe the time it will take for society to first, right the ship after something as cataclysmic as a collapse could be measured in years. Most, if not all of the average prepper’s survival supplies would be gone by the time Bartertown was set up. By the time rules were established, even informally for trade you likely wouldn’t have anything left to trade anyone.

This goes down the same path as storing precious metals. I think if we have a functioning banking system after a collapse you will possibly have a place you can take your precious metals and cash them in for the local currency. I do not think you will, any time soon, sit down with your neighbor and trade him a few silver coins for a horse or a new suit. Not at least until your neighbor can take that silver somewhere and get something else of value for it. The problem I see with precious metals is that nobody will know what they are worth and everyone holding precious metals will assume they are more valuable than they truly are. Not to mention how hard it is to make change from Gold or Silver Coins. Sure there are smaller denominations, but do you have any? Will the person you are trading with have any?

Do bullets make good bartering items?

All of my preconceived notions on Bartering aside, I am writing this post today because I have heard at least one other blogger and possibly some of the commenters on our site say words to the effect of “Don’t barter Ammo because it could be used against you”. I starting thinking about that concern and wondered if I had it all wrong before. I personally have recommended ammo as a good bartering item and now there was someone who says they have a ton of experience telling me that what I was thinking was wrong.

It isn’t like I know everything, so I starting considering that perhaps this blogger was right and that I shouldn’t plan on bartering ammo in the first place but the more I thought about it, the more I feel convinced that you should be no less safe bartering ammo than you are bartering a carton of cigarettes.

I think the default position of how bullets for barter or some other items like liquor or tobacco products, is a riskier proposition neglects a few other key points to consider that I wanted to share with the readers of the Prepper Journal today.

It isn’t what you are bartering, it is how

The assumption I think many people on the Bullets are bad bartering items side of this argument make is that if someone knows you have ammo, they will barter for ammo, load their pistol, or other favorite SHTF weapon and point it right back at you. Now you are at their mercy since they have ammo and they will take everything you have and possibly rape your wife and children in front of you. Could that happen? Sure, it is possible, but if that is how you are conducting bartering then you aren’t very wise in my opinion. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have even survived long enough to make it to bartering if you were that clueless.

Maybe I am wrong, but I don't see anything remotely resembling the open air market and free trade happening for many years after a collapse.

Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t see anything remotely resembling the open air market and free trade happening for many years after a collapse.

OK, so the hypothetical scenario is that we have just lived through The End of the World as we Know it. Banks closed a year ago, the government collapsed, several nukes went off somewhere in the country, but you haven’t been able to get reliable information for months. You are barely surviving because you had 2 years’ worth of supplies stored and have connected with 4 other families in a mutual assistance group. Your garden is constant work but is feeding you all nicely. The other members of the MAG have brought their own supplies and a modest homestead environment is allowing you all to live in semi-reasonable comfort and security.

Now, some stranger, maybe it is even someone you know comes to your fence. He just happens to have something you are looking for; a car battery. You place it on the multimeter and see that it still has some life in it so you ask what he is willing to trade for it. He says he will take a box of shotgun shells. Since you were a good prepper and stored up a generous supply of ammo before the collapse, this is a trade you can make and reason it is fair.

The element of risk comes into this equation from two places. First, the knowledge that you have ammunition could put you at risk from people who want more ammo and will try to take it by force. The second place is the trade you are considering right now with someone who plans to kill you with the ammo you are going to give him.

These aren’t wild stretches of imagination. I will readily concede there will be desperate people, but I think in this situation people will be just as desperate for food, medical supplies, tobacco, whiskey, livestock, basically anything of value. Sure, someone can’t’ turn around and kill you with a tomato, but if society has devolved so completely, every interaction and transaction is going to carry some amount of risk.

Don’t make bartering mistakes

I think if you have stored thousands of extra rounds of ammunition for the express purpose of bartering, that you would be a very fortunate person in the right circumstances. Of course, having a supply like that could invite someone to take it from you. Having the ammunition or the whiskey or the tobacco or toilet paper is only half of the problem. You have to set up the trade itself in a fair, safe way to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of. If you have any supplies, you will need to guard them even if you aren’t planning on using them for barter. The days of leaving the house for several hours without a guard would be over.

I would not go into any transaction like this without backup. Someone should be watching your back any time you make a trade like this. You will likely need more than one backup as someone will need to   stay with the person you are bartering with while you or someone else retrieves the ammunition that is hopefully hidden safely in your house or offsite somewhere.

The person you are bartering with should never see your supply nor know how much you have left. I think it might also be good to have someone observing from a higher vantage point, possibly hidden in the trees wearing a homemade Ghillie suite. If this sharpshooter saw the man trying to shoot you, they could step in from a couple hundred yards away and end the life of the man who was just trying to kill you.

I think bullets above almost all else would be highly valuable during a SHTF event. If you have more than you need, why not try to use them for barter? I believe with the right precautions, almost anything can be traded. Bullets immediately following a collapse will be more valuable than gold for preppers. By taking steps to ensure you don’t get taken advantage of, you can trade any extra stock you have, get things you need in return and possibly help someone live for another week.

What do you think?

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Bug Out Bag Water Filtration Optionshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/29/bug-out-bag-water-filtration-options/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/29/bug-out-bag-water-filtration-options/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:24:01 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14783 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.

One of the ideas I try to promote is to watch the weight on your bug out bags and not overload them. I recommend this for a lot of really simple reasons. If your Bug Out Bag is too heavy, it will hurt eventually. It might not hurt when you first take off walking, but it will eventually. In addition to rubbing you raw and potentially causing injury, you will be more off-balance and less able to quickly move. If you can’t move out of danger quickly enough, that bug out bag could get you killed. The better idea is to pack your bug out bag in a way that is as light as possible while still maintaining the essentials you need to survive for up to 72 hours. Don’t go minimalistic for the sake of making the scales proud, but you should look carefully at the overall weight.

Water, Food and ammo, possibly a tent are all great places to shed pounds from your bug out bag and today we are focusing on water. I have personally tried a few different water filtration methods and wanted to highlight the pluses and minuses for you today on the Prepper Journal as I see them. Hopefully this information you will make sure the bug out bag water filtration options you choose will work well for you if you ever need to use them.

In addition to being less heavy than simply carrying your water on you at all times, these bug out bag water filtration options will give you increased range and capabilities. Instead of being limited to only the water you are able to carry, it is easy to filter an extra liter or more from sources along your route. All the while, ensuring that the water you are drinking isn’t going to make you sick.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

This first filter I tested is one I have owned for years and up until recently used on my backpacking trips. The MSR MiniWorks EX is a great water filter that is activated by a manual pump. You simply connect the hose, stick that into the water and screw your Nalgene bottle or dromedary bag onto the bottom of the filter and start pumping. In just a few minutes the water from your  source will be pressed through the filtration system and with a little time, you will have a full bottle of clean water to drink. Filtering a standard Nalgene bottle like below probably took 3-4 minutes.

The MSR MiniWorks EX was my first backpacking water filtration. We loved it when we had to depend on it in the woods.

The MSR MiniWorks EX was my first backpacking water filtration. We loved it when we had to depend on it in the woods.

I would take these down to the river and fill up everyone’s water bottle as well as two 48 ounce bladders we had when we stopped. The bladders were to refill bottles and went toward coffee and reconstituting our freeze-dried food.

So, good and bad about this filter. First off, I like the fact that this is pretty simple to use and you don’t have to get down into the water to collect anything. The water tastes great and the pump has stood the test of time for the most part. I did have one pump stop working on my wife when we were on a backpacking trip. Fortunately, I had two filters so we had some redundancy built-in. Pumping does take you a little while and the pump isn’t the lightest or cheapest option. Once you return from your trip you need to clean the filter element, usually with a scrubbing pad to get the gunk off of it and let everything dry completely for a few days before you put it away.

MSR MiniWorks Features

  • Ceramic/carbon Marathon™ EX element effectively removes bacteria and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia
  • Also removes unpleasant tastes and odors caused by organic compounds, such as iodine, chlorine and pesticides
  • Filter can be cleaned over and over for maximum field life with no tools required
  • Bottom screws onto an MSR Dromedary® Bag or Nalgene® water bottle for easy operation (both sold separately)
  • Easy dis-assembly lets you troubleshoot and maintain the MSR MiniWorks EX filter in the field

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Cost: $84 on Amazon.com

I also found this excellent review of the MSR MiniWorks EX from Black Owl Outdoors for those who like to watch videos.

Sawyer Mini

When I first tried out the Sawyer Mini I thought this was the best invention in the world at least from the standpoint of water filtration options for preppers. The filter was extremely lightweight, compact and could filter hundreds of thousands of gallons. The Sawyer Mini could be used as a straw to drink from a water bottle like the life straw or from the included squeeze bag that comes with it.

The cost, low-weight and ability to filter so much water is an incredible advantage, but using either the squeeze bag or a standard water bottle has some drawbacks in my opinion. You are still only filtering on demand unless you squeeze the water into another container and that isn’t always the most practical. One of the reasons I don’t think the LifeStraw is the best option for me in all cases.

You can use the included sqeeze bag to collect water and the Sawyer will make it safe to drink.

You can use the included squeeze bag to collect water and the Sawyer will make it safe to drink.

Sawyer Mini Features

  • Hollow-fiber membrane offers a high flow rate; sip on the Mini like a straw and it filters the water while it’s on the way to your mouth
  • Filter will also fit the threads on the included Sawyer 16 fl. oz. reusable pouch that you can fill at a lake or stream and then use to squeeze water through the filter
  • 0.1-micron filter physically removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium
  • Filter will also fit the threads on most bottles of water that you buy at a grocery store; can also be used as an inline filter (adapters and hoses not included)

Weight: 2 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

I also found this review for perspective from Preparedmind 101

Polar Pure – Crystal Iodine Water Treatment

The third option I tried is Polar Pure. Polar Pure is a Crystal Iodine water treatment, not a filter. The bottle holds actual iodine crystals you might be able to see in the photo below. The process is for you to fill the bottle with water and let this sit for 1 hour. At the end of an hour you have something like concentrated iodine brine that you can use make almost any water safe to drink. There are simple to follow instructions on the bottle and even a hand-dandy gauge to tell you how many capfuls of the solution your water will need to be safe. The number depends upon the temperature of the water.

Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect water.

Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect water.

You pour the recommended capfuls into your 1 liter water bottle and let it stand for 20 minutes before drinking. When you are done, just fill the bottle up with water again and it will be ready for your next treatment in another hour. This relatively small bottle will last for up to 2,000 liters of water, although I don’t know who would count them. When the iodine crystals are gone, so is your ability to use this to make your water safe.

Iodine, unlike the micron water filters above can kill viruses. Giardia, mentioned above is caught by the water filters, but if you have something like hepatitis or polio in the water, the simple filtration method above won’t work. Now, the question becomes, do you have to worry about viruses in the water you are drinking or just organisms that can make you violently ill?

The Polar Pure bottle is one that I would carry with me as an extreme back up for highly questionable water. The science is good on making your water safe. Iodine has been used for a very long time, but the bottle is glass. You could be in trouble if this is all you have and it is broken. Additionally, iodine will make your water safe, but it won’t filter it out so if you pour yourself a big cup of slightly brown pond water and treat it with iodine, it will be perfectly safe for drinking – brown pond water. Filtering your water first through a handkerchief or something like coffee filters at a minimum would be better. Some people use Polar Pure plus another filter for the ultimate in safe water.

Weight: 5 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

For those who want to see the polar pure in action, there is a good video from Provident-Living-Today.com

Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter

The last item I tried out for my bug out bag water filtration decision process was a relatively new purchase. I had heard about the Platypus GravityWorks Filter system from one of the readers on the Prepper Journal when I was initially looking at the Sawyer answer to the same functionality. The Platypus was almost half the price so I decided to give this a try because it looked like the perfect solution to me.

Keeping the bags separated is easy with clear labels.

Keeping the bags separated is easy with clear labels.

The Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter is a two bag system. You have one bag for water collection and it is very simply labeled “Dirty”. Your dirty water goes in here and it has a wide opening at the top which works very similar to a zip loc bag. This wide opening allowed me to collect 2 liters of water from the creek very quickly and easily. You can see my test water isn’t a crystal clear glacier spring so the bag’s label was very appropriate.

The Platypus Bag system has a simple attachment system to hang your bag of water to be treated up on a tree, bumper or anything higher than the clean bag. Gravity does all the hard work.

The Platypus Bag system has a simple attachment system to hang your bag of water to be treated up on a tree, bumper or anything higher than the clean bag. Gravity does all the hard work.

Another nice feature were the connectors. The Platypus GravityWorks has a quick connect so you can collect your dirty water and either pack it out for filtration later or carry it back to camp. The filter element snaps in and you are ready to filter.

The Platypus filter element snaps into the reservoir quick connect and you are all set to filter water.

The Platypus filter element snaps into the reservoir quick connect and you are all set to filter water.

This system is fast. I only filled up about 1 liter but it was filtered in less than 2 minutes.

This system is fast. I only filled up about 1 liter but it was filtered in less than 2 minutes.

Once the filter is snapped in, the water will flow almost immediately. The tube running from the filter has a stopper that you can use to quickly pinch off the flow while you hook up the clean bag. As long as the bag of dirty water is higher than the clean bag, the appropriately named GravityWorks filter will take care of all your heavy lifting while beautiful clean water flows into your empty bladder.

This system will hold 2 liters of water which I think gives you a lot of water for the average person. You can also just filter two liters, then collect two more liters of dirty water for later. You will be carrying four liters of water with you at all times. Two filtered and two that needs to be filtered.

Cleaning this system is as simple as lifting the clean water bag up over the dirty water bag and squeezing your clean water bag. You will see the dirty sediment flow back into the dirty bag and you know your filter is clean when that stops.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter Specs

  • Easy, Pump-free filtering
  • Fast! 1.5-liters per minute
  • Weighs as little as 7.2 oz. (203 g)
  • Ultra-Compact
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella and Cholera

Weight: 7 ounces

Cost: $79 on Amazon.com

 

And I found this review from Outdoor Gear Lab that shows the larger 4 Liter system.

So What is the best bug out water filtration system?

This question isn’t something I can answer with a definitive statement that will stand for all time or in all situations, but I will share some of my thoughts. My idea of bugging out involves living possibly for some time in forested terrain. I plan to be on the move and I don’t want to slow down more than I have to for rest. Water is crucial for life so I don’t want to have to go to more trouble than is prudent to acquire it. Additionally, if I am strapping a pack on my back and walking out the door, I have to plan for being on my own so to speak for potentially much longer than 72 hours.

I have considered both caplets like the Portable Aqua Water Filter tablets and I even own some of them, but they last for a finite amount of time. The standard bottles will give you I think 25 quarts of water. With a hike for three days in the summer, enough for food and your bottle will quickly be cleaned out. It will go faster if you are sharing.

I had all of this clean, fresh tasting water in a little less than two minutes.

I had all of this clean, fresh tasting water in a little less than two minutes.

The LifeStraw product is one I just don’t think is practical. It is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but I for one don’t want to be forced to stick my head in a puddle just to get a drink. I want to take giant gulps of water if I am thirsty and I want to be able to take water along with me. Sure you can fill up empty bottles and drink out of them with a LifeStraw, but I think there is a better option.

The MSR Filter pump has usually been a great filter, but because it is mechanical, I have had one give me troubles. I was able to repair it eventually, but that wasn’t a good sign. I should have back-ups anyway I know, but I would rather go with a more stable platform and the MSR is heavier than all of the other options I have tested.

What about boiling water? Sure you could do that, but you have to build a fire first and then boil your water, then let it cool down. Do you want to do all of that in the heat of summer? Even in winter, that fire might be nice, but to go through all that effort for drinking water seems like a fall back plan, not the first option.

Iodine crystals like Polar Pure seem to be the best option for killing viruses, but like I said, their bottle is glass. One slip out of your hands onto a rock will end your water filtration options for that bug out trip. Even if you don’t drop it, I prefer to drink water as soon as possible and wouldn’t want to remember to keep my iodine warm for effectiveness.  I think Polar Pure makes sense as a back up, but not the sole method of water filtration in a bug out scenario. For Backpacking trips Polar pure is a great idea. If you have the time to leisurely prepare your water, I think this is a good option.

The Sawyer as it is would probably be my second choice because of the weight and size. I would have to fill a large reservoir, something like the 48 ounce Naglene Bladders and rig up some way to squeeze filter a larger amount of water into my bottles. Not the best, but it is incredibly light and could get the job done.

What about items like the SteriPEN that use UV light to make water safe to drink? What about EMP? What if it breaks? What if you run out of batteries?

I think that for me the GravityWorks system from Platypus is the easiest and fastest way to collect water that will be clean and fresh tasting. With it’s fast flow rate, I can grab a 2 liter bag of water, hook up the filter and throw them both in my bag if needed and keep on going to a safe location. This seems to offer the most capacity with the fastest filtration time and easiest system to learn and remember. I can teach my kids how to use this in about 2 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to produce 2 liters of clean water.

That is my take on the best bug out water filtration options. What do you use?

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At What Point Do Our Nation’s Heroes Become Their Fellow Citizen’s Enemieshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/26/at-what-point-do-our-nations-heros-become-their-fellow-citizens-enemies/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/26/at-what-point-do-our-nations-heros-become-their-fellow-citizens-enemies/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:35:49 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14764 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Nations rise and fall as they have done since the beginning of time. Some fear that our nation, the United States of America, is preparing for the final spasm that could literally kick this country over the edge of oblivion and add our sad chapter to the larger story of the history of once great […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Nations rise and fall as they have done since the beginning of time. Some fear that our nation, the United States of America, is preparing for the final spasm that could literally kick this country over the edge of oblivion and add our sad chapter to the larger story of the history of once great nations that self-destructed. Depending on what you believe the facts are about our current state, this may or may not be in our future. Assuming it is; there are wide differences in opinion about how long this final act may take. All I know for sure is that if we do collapse, as every other nation in our economic and moral situation has before us, it won’t be pretty. In fact if it is anywhere half as bad as I can imagine it will be – considering our current sorry state as humans, it will be awful.

In addition to threatening economic worries and the moral decay forced upon us ever more with each day, we have also heard reports of Jade Helm and rumors around what that secretive military exercise could possibly mean for the future of our country and our military’s role in all sorts of imagined scenarios. From rounding up dissidents, to executing people on the “Red List”, confiscating firearms and on and on. The sense of foreboding from this and our economic news is palpable to me and countless others. Even if none of these rumors were true right now, in a true collapse it only stands to reason – as it has everywhere else, that the nation’s military will absolutely play a role in protecting the government in power. Their role of providing for the common defense will be turned inward and not toward some hostile nation on our shores. If the people are angry at the government, when the straw finally breaks, at some point in the escalation they will have to face the government’s protective arm in the form of their sons and daughters actively in service.

In the worst case scenario, our military forces would be actively hostile towards the citizenry the are supposed to defend. This would no doubt be deemed necessary to “maintain order”. Martial law could be declared, your rights under the constitution could be taken away and your civil liberties, due process, the rule of law thrown out the window under the auspices of continuity of government. None of this is hearsay; the plans for actions just like this are already codified. If you don’t believe me, look up Executive Order 11000 or Executive Order 11921. Those are only two of many executive orders that already have been planned to take absolute control over everything in our country. You can bet that if they are implemented you won’t get your say about how they are implemented. There will be no Supreme Court decisions arguing the merits of these orders. You will simply be forced to comply.

And who is going to enforce these executive orders? Who else is there but the military, police, DHS, National Guard and volunteers chosen for their willingness to help “maintain order”. At a certain point, if we have descended to this level, the military – those same sons and daughters could be your enemy. If that time comes, what do you expect to do?

You can’t win against the military

We currently have the world’s best funded, trained and supported military. Our soldiers have benefited from our nation’s wealth and prosperity. That wealth seems to cry out for war though because we have been actively engaged in conflict somewhere on the earth for more years than I care to count. This constant rotation of battle assignments has trained a large force of soldiers, marines, seamen and airmen to kill without hesitation. Drones destroy targets from high in the air, piloted by people 7000 miles away from the action in some cases. For them, this must be almost like a video game. At some point is it realistic to believe the same drones will be patrolling our skies and targeting civilians in our country who have been labeled as domestic terrorists?

Are these photos used to scare people?

Are these photos used to scare people?

One of the common rebuttals I read in the comments anytime someone is talking about any opposition action against a rogue, tyrannical government is about how futile and useless it would be to even try any resistance. It is because of those well-trained, funded and supported soldiers I spoke of above. You would be foolish to try to stop them and it is true that Revolutions usually don’t end well for the people.

And that is part of my reasoning behind writing this post.

We always seem to be focused on the actions our military is taking that we believe are in direct contradiction of our liberties. We worry about trucks loaded on train tracks and how we could receive a kicked in door in the middle of the night and be whisked away to some FEMA prison camp in the dark or worse, summarily executed in our living room. We see pictures of FEMA coffins and worry about who is going to be filling those boxes. It may come down to your age, your upbringing or your personal value system, but if you want to be prepared to survive I think it helps to consider a wide array of possible outcomes. It may be necessary, God forbid that you will have to fight for your freedom. Your situation and our future may dictate who you are fighting against.

The courts will no longer help you and justice is a quaint relic

Maybe I am a pessimist when I say the game is rigged. You can’t get politicians to listen to their constituents any more. They simply don’t care, because you don’t pay their salaries. Mega corporations are paying your senators and representatives. Why should they listen to what you want? The judicial system on one level is highly upset about Soccer in other countries, but they could give a rat’s ass about the IRS targeting opposition political groups on our soil or thousands of immigrants pouring over our borders each month. On the other level courts rewrite or create laws out of thin air in direct contradiction to the voters (the citizens’) wishes. All of the sources we use to depend on for justice are tainted. They don’t work for you and me anymore and I think they are getting actively hostile towards us to boot.

There will come a day I fear where we simply will not be able to take to Facebook or blogs like the Prepper Journal and complain. We won’t be able to go on with our day job, checking Drudge Report for the latest news. At some point we may be forced to fight for our survival and unfortunately, the likely combatants would be our soldiers. The people we hail as heroes for going to war for us. The heroes who are valiantly serving today and who likely have only love for their country as their motivation for sacrificing so much.

Would there ever be a point you stopped going along with tyranny?

Would there ever be a point you stopped going along with tyranny?

These heroes’ could be our enemies under the right circumstances. Could some defect or refuse to follow orders that hurt or imprison their families or neighbors? Sure I think there could be some of that but our entire military won’t walk off the job. I suspect there would be a shocking and elaborate reason why they feel just in doing what they are told. When it falls to them to enforce the executive orders to take over and control all forms of transportation, mobilize citizens into work brigades, relocate communities, take over all food resources and farms you may find yourself at odds with these sons and daughters. You may find out that your old neighbors are responsible for placing you into internment camps if you quietly go along. What will you do then?

As a former member of this country’s armed forces and someone who has had many relatives serve with honor as well, I don’t say this lightly. I am sure I will offend someone with this post. Others will accuse me of heresy, but I think it deserves a discussion if for nothing else than to hopefully spark a conversation. We have been so focused on what we are afraid the military will do to us. Maybe we should make them think about what  tens of millions of desperate, frightened people – their neighbors, could do to them? Their job is to defend us, not kill us, not lock us up. Maybe our heroes will listen now that the rest of our government has stopped.

There is a quote that has always struck me as very sad and telling from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago. Solzhenitsyn was a Russian who was sentenced to 8 years in a Soviet prison camp for essentially writing things about Stalin that the government didn’t like. During this time in Soviet Russia, to stifle dissent, millions were killed or sent to prison camps. In this passage Solzhenitsyn is talking about regret that everyone felt because they simply went along with this tyranny and didn’t oppose it.

 “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”  – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Preparing does you no good if you give up everything and march like sheep to the slaughter. There has to be a survival instinct inside you somewhere should you need to use it. I don’t know if that day will ever come, but if it does you may have to look past national pride. We may be the images on the TV that other countries watch of a people fighting for freedom. I don’t want that to happen, but if it does I can’t let who my oppressors are affect my resistance. Would you?

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Preppers Should Never Let a Crisis Go to Wastehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/25/preppers-should-never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/25/preppers-should-never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:23:00 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14756 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Crisis, disaster, the grid going down, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World as We Know It). All of these are terms preppers use as the motivating force for taking steps to proactively avoid these situations. We prepare so that if we do have to go through some crisis or disaster we will hopefully […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Crisis, disaster, the grid going down, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World as We Know It). All of these are terms preppers use as the motivating force for taking steps to proactively avoid these situations. We prepare so that if we do have to go through some crisis or disaster we will hopefully arrive on the other site unscathed. The last thing most preppers want to see is any kind of SHTF event, but I wanted to pose the idea that as well as being something we try to plan for to avoid, a crisis could give you opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Rahm Emanuel is famously quoted as saying “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you did not think you could do before.” I think it is widely accepted that in the context of what he was saying; he meant that you could make major changes in political policies with a large enough crisis. The fear or anger of the actual event would make pushing changes through policy much easier.

Preppers can also use a crisis regardless of whether we are in the middle of the crisis or observers on the outside – watching the news and looking on with the rest of the world. If you take the prepping lifestyle serious, I want to show why preppers should never let a crisis go to waste either. We can use tragedy to further our agendas just as well as the government can. Our reach and the scope of what we are able to do personally might be insignificant in the face of a government behemoth, but nevertheless, touching just one person’s life is worth it.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to help

First and foremost in any crisis, I am prepping to help people. To be perfectly honest, those people I am planning for are me and my family first, but if I am not in danger and I can help others, I will happily step in. The recent floods in Texas are a good example of how preppers could help people out who were not prepared or who perhaps were prepared, but their provisions along with their homes and all of their other belongings were swept down the river.

The crisis could be local to your area and in that case you can volunteer your time to help people who are displaced. You could take your big bug out vehicle down the road and rescue people who aren’t able to make it out of their homes on foot or who in colder weather, can’t get their car down the road due t snow and ice. Your nice Stihl chainsaw could come out of the shed to help your neighbors clear a downed tree or cut limbs up that have fallen. You could share some of your food storage with neighbors who have had their homes destroyed by tornadoes.

Even if the crisis isn't local to your area, you can learn and teach others using the subject.

Even if the crisis isn’t local to your area, you can learn and teach others using the subject.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to teach

As a prepper blogger, I almost always see an upswing in my visitor traffic immediately following some natural disaster. It makes sense that people want to learn how to get prepared when their reality of sunshine and lollipops is rocked by scenes of destruction on their Facebook pages and across the internet. News of horrible tragedy, especially the kind caused by Mother Nature reminds us that bad things do happen to good people all of the time.

I have related the story before of how I foolishly tried to get my wife on board with my prepping efforts in one manic speech at night right before bed. Naturally, me hitting her out of the blue with all of my fears about the future and my plans to spend major bucks insulating our family from anything bad wasn’t met with a warm reception. After that night I realized I needed to step back and try a different approach.

Rather than trying to convince her of the validity of my worst Grid down fears, I used crises in the news when they happened. When winter storms knocked power out for thousands, I mentioned to her how we should get some supplies in case that happened to us. With the news so fresh in her mind her resistance to me prepping for disaster disappeared. It was directly because she could see how that tragedy could affect her and our children.

Disasters occupy the attention of nearly everyone for at least a couple of days. During this time you can very easily talk to friends or family about the situation and pose questions to them about how they would react if for example; a lunatic on prescription meds walked into church and started shooting. You can ask them what they would do if they lost power due to winter storms for 3 weeks and couldn’t leave their house because they were snowed in. Rather than come into the subjects of personal security or food storage completely out of the blue, preppers can start a dialog that makes sense within the context of current events.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to learn

I am an advocate of learning new things as much as possible. I even try to learn from my mistakes and disasters can give you an opportunity to learn in a couple of ways. The first way is first hand. Many people have grid-down weekends where they flip the power switch off on a Friday night and leave it off for the weekend. This is done to practice living off your prepping supplies and learning lessons about cooking, cleaning up, staying occupied and warm or cool. If Mother Nature throws you a grid-down weekend of her own, you can still learn lessons from actually using this gear you have lying around your house.

You can learn lessons like:

Medical skills could help others in a crisis.


If you aren’t directly affected by the crisis you can still learn. Many people volunteer as CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members and if needed, you could be called into action to assist in your community. This training is great for people who are looking to get training on assisting during disasters.

You can also take first aid training and possibly assist with saving a life in a crisis. If nothing else, the things you experience can remind you of what supplies you may need during a crisis and the training could benefit one of your own groups. There doesn’t even have to be a crisis to use first aid skills as people get hurt all of the time on their own. If nothing else, like the example of my wife above, you can use the next crisis to motivate you to redouble your efforts or jump back into the game.

In addition to actually being in the thick of it or simply letting the crisis motivate you to attend training, you can learn from the crisis even if you are on the other side of the world. Use the crisis as a hypothetical scenario to talk through what you would do. Ask your children what they would do if that crisis happened and you weren’t home. Ask your spouse or parents what they would do. Think of what you and your family would have done if this happened and you were away from home on vacation?  Learn their perspectives and give them any information you have that they might have forgotten. Never let a crisis go to waste.

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Getting Started in Preppinghttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/23/getting-started-in-prepping-2/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/23/getting-started-in-prepping-2/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14735 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

There are many routes people take to this word of Prepping. Some have watched Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo. Others have found the word scouring blogs out there as almost every mainstream media outlet has had some coverage of the phenomenon. Others have been personally touched by tragedy or worry that they could be someday, […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

There are many routes people take to this word of Prepping. Some have watched Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo. Others have found the word scouring blogs out there as almost every mainstream media outlet has had some coverage of the phenomenon. Others have been personally touched by tragedy or worry that they could be someday, so they investigate for themselves. No matter what your reason for searching for prepper, everyone has to start somewhere, but in the beginning it can be a little overwhelming. Today I wanted to share some tips for those getting started in prepping that are easy and will increase your odds for survival without breaking the bank.

Now I know that there are those who have more experience than others. The learning curve is not the same for everyone and neither are the concerns, resources or methods of approaching a journey towards preparedness. Some people view prepping as simply what our great grandmothers did. Some will consider the skills, habits and traits of preppers more suited to the term survivalist. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Whether we are talking about prepping or survival, the root issue both labels are trying to address is living. Living or staying alive even when things get bad.

Why should you start prepping?

I have been interviewed a few times and almost without fail, the first question I get is something like “So how did you get into prepping?”. To me that question is still a little odd, but the majority of people out there go through life without realizing just how easily things can turn upside down. The “normal” that you expect every day when you wake up and look our your window could change overnight and this isn’t something out of a fictional disaster movie; it happens to many people every day.

What disasters am I talking about? You can look at any year and pick dozens of situations where people needed assistance or were affected by earthquakes, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes. In 2011 alone there were 99 major disaster declarations and that doesn’t count things like riots and the turmoil that we see in other countries that could be visiting our shores with the right circumstances. Life can be messy and many people have decided after looking at recent history, that it makes sense to start preparing.

A garden is a great extension of your long-term prepping plan, but don't expect that to feed you in a crisis unless it is well established ahead of time.

A garden is a great extension of your long-term prepping plan, but don’t expect that to feed you in a crisis unless it is well established ahead of time.

Each person likely has their own idea of what they are prepping for. Just like the willing victims interviewed on Doomsday Preppers, I think most of us have something we are worried about more so than anything else, but the great thing about prepping is that preparing for one disaster can also help you with almost any other disaster in large measure. We all need the same basic things to live so preparedness supplies aren’t a waste if your expected tragedy never occurs. Actually, I hope nothing ever happens and I personally get to look back many, many years from now and say I was wrong. I am betting I am not though. Time will tell.

Will Prepping cost you a fortune?

One aspect of prepping is the cost and this is usually because there is an almost immediate focus on prepping supplies you will need in any particular disaster. When I was getting started in prepping, I first conducted a lot of research but in the back of my mind I kept a running list of all of the things I felt I needed. It is the same for most preppers. When you learn about all of the items to consider in a disaster or a collapse, you realize – maybe for the first time, that you could be on your own. The absence of police departments, fire and rescue, electric companies, grocery stores and super Walmart’s leave a big hole in the acquirement portion of our lives. Unless you plan on living a very sparse existence, most of us feel like we should stock up on supplies we consider vital to survival before they are gone for good do to shortage or inability to get to those same supplies.

Unless you already are living on a farm growing all of your own food, what will you do if the grocery stores are out? What will you do for electricity if something happens to the electric grid? What will you do if the police have all walked off the job and a group of thugs is milling around your yard?

I think it is realistic to say that purchasing some prepping supplies will cost you money. Could you make all of these your own? No, you can’t and anyone who tells you that all they need is a sharp knife won’t be alive for very long. Yes, I know Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and a whole bunch of other guys do this every week on reality TV, but listen to me. That isn’t you on the screen and it isn’t reality at all to expect to live in the wild on scavenged grubs, fish or the occasional victim of your snares for 99.99% of us.

Emergency water storage could be found in the tap if you act quickly after a crisis. The WaterBob (pictured) allows you to store 100 gallons in the tub. You can use it for drinking or hygiene after the tap runs dry.

Emergency water storage could be found in the tap if you act quickly after a crisis. The WaterBob (pictured) allows you to store 100 gallons in the tub. You can use it for drinking or hygiene after the tap runs dry.

Yes, we did come from sturdier stock back in the days and some people still possess many of those skills today. Pioneers wandered around and made a life for themselves without all of the conveniences of modern life. We can relearn those skills and we can put aspects of that life into practice, but unless you are independently wealthy, don’t need to work a job or take care of kids to pay that mortgage on your home, the time you have is limited. I recommend a short-term and a long term approach to prepping that anyone can follow.

What are simple steps you can take right now to increase your odds of survival?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that preppers have a higher likelihood of facing some situation in their lives that temporarily renders them at the mercy of their surroundings. I will take things like regional weather events, economic issues, employment shortages first. Getting stuck in the wilderness with your arm under a boulder is not what we are prepping for. Could that happen? Sure but that is a different survival experience that I think is related but not directly the subject of prepping.

As I said above, everyone needs the same things in order to live. You need water, food, shelter and security. These are constants that don’t change regardless of the crisis or disaster you are living in. Your prepping should first and foremost address your ability to meet those needs for yourself and your family. How much food and water do you need? What shelter considerations would you have and what possible security risks could you face? These are questions that are worthy of their own post but there are some guidelines I believe will work for most everyone in most situations.

Food

Food is one of the most important prepping items and it should be the easiest to acquire. You don’t need to plan for a year’s worth of food right off the bat. Start smaller and begin with an extra week if you don’t have anything. Work your way up after that. Some great food staples that will store for a long time in cool, dry conditions and are extremely economical when you look at it are the following:

  • Rice –You can buy smaller bags at stores like Walmart or go to Sam’s and get the 50lb bags for real cost savings. Buy 2 50lb bags of rice and you will spend about $30. Seriously! Each bag has hundreds of servings.
  • Beans – What goes good with rice? Beans and you can purchase these at the same time. A ten pound bag of pinto beans is about $7. Buy 3 bags and now you have 100 pounds of rice and 30 pounds of beans for less than $50. You can feed a family of 4 for a month with that. Will everyone hate you when it’s over? Probably not if they aren’t starving. You might need to crack a window though…
  • Seasonings – But some seasonings will make those beans and rice go down much better so stop and get salt, pepper, maybe bouillon cubes or hot sauce to spice things up. All of this should be less than $100.

7 gallons of water in an easy to stack container. Make sure you have at least one of these for each person in your house.

Water

Water can be shut off. Water pipes can freeze so it is important to keep a supply of water in your home. The good news is you can fill up a lot of water jugs very cheaply from your faucet. I like the 7 gallon water containers because they hold a lot, stack easily and are just about the max anyone will want to lug around for very long. Get at least 1 of these for each person in your home and you will have a weeks’ worth of water for everyone. The more you have the better off you are.

Shelter

Usually we are talking about staying out of the elements. There isn’t much you can do for heat unless you have electricity and if you have that… Cold weather will kill people more usually so simply planning for colder weather should be part of your preps. Do you have extra warm blankets, or sleeping bags, hats, gloves and scarfs? Shelter should be one thing that most of us don’t have to worry about as long as we have a place to go.

Security

Each person has different priorities, beliefs and values when it comes to security. For me, I have chosen firearms because they make the most sense to me. If you are just getting started prepping and are a legal adult with not much money to spare, I might recommend a shotgun or a pistol as your first self-defense weapon. Shotguns have their advantages – you don’t generally need a permit to purchase one and they are multi-use weapons. You can use them for security and hunting game. Pistols are concealable and most semi-automatics carry more ammo than a shotgun. The choice is up to you. A very decent shotgun can be purchased new for ~$200. Respectable handguns are about double that, but you can find models for much cheaper if you shop around. Make sure you are competently trained in whatever weapon you chose first and get a supply of ammo. I recommend BulkAmmo.com for their good prices and amazingly fast shipping. You can get 25 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot for $8. Pistol ammo is roughly $26 for a box of 50 hollow points.

So the total is roughly $500 to get you enough food, water and a security option to survive for at least a week and possibly more. Are there more things to consider? Yes of course and we have a good selection of articles I think that cover most of the big ticket items. For additional reading if you are just getting started prepping, I might recommend the following:

Good luck and remember that you can always ask any question in the comments of this or any article. The Prepper Journal has a diverse, intelligent and experienced audience who has always shown they are happy to provide their own advice and experience on any issue you are facing.

What are you prepping for?

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A Look at Bullet Proof Vest Protection for Survivalistshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/22/a-look-at-bullet-proof-vest-protection-for-survivalists/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/22/a-look-at-bullet-proof-vest-protection-for-survivalists/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 21:02:30 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14724 Written by Chris Taylor on The Prepper Journal.

Why do you need protection? If you’re going to prepare for the worst case scenario, a bullet proof vest needs to be part of your plan. When SHTF, personal protection is really your number one priority– even food and water can wait if you’re not safe from the danger of other people. Aside from getting […]

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Written by Chris Taylor on The Prepper Journal.

Why do you need protection?

If you’re going to prepare for the worst case scenario, a bullet proof vest needs to be part of your plan. When SHTF, personal protection is really your number one priority– even food and water can wait if you’re not safe from the danger of other people.

Aside from getting a weapon to defend yourself, you’ll need something to defend yourself from other weapons. Since smart shooters will be aiming for your torso above all else, this is the first area you want to protect, and the best way to do so is with a body proof vest.

Of course no vest will protect against absolutely every weapon, so you will have some decisions to make. There are tradeoffs between level of ballistic protection and comfort/conceal-ability that need to be considered when choosing a bullet resistant vest. Generally, vests that protect from high caliber rounds are bulky, cumbersome and their presence is obvious. Covert bullet proof vests are far more concealable and comfortable to wear, but don’t provide optimal protection.

What’s the best choice?

So what’s best for a survivalist? In almost all cases, you will want to procure covert, wearable body armor. Wearability and concealability are supremely important. You have no idea how long you’ll need to wear it, so preparing for long periods of time is wisest– there’s no telling when you’ll be safe enough to take it off.

Covert bullet proof vests are worn under clothing and have comfortable linings. Many are made with CoolMAX lining, which is designed to regulate your core temperature by letting excess heat out of the vest. For those who are irritated by synthetic fiber, cotton-based alternatives are also available.

Soft body armor won't stop rifle rounds but could be useful in many other scenarios.

Soft body armor won’t stop rifle rounds but could be useful in many other scenarios.

Concealability is equally important. OPSEC for preppers is a must-know, and avoiding “indicators” — things that signal to people that you’re well prepared — is very important. If people know how well prepared you are, this makes you a clear target. If you’re seen parading around in an overt body proof vest, people will know that you have your act together, and likely have some other useful stuff to take.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you don’t get anything higher than level IIIa– upwards of that level, you’re getting into ceramic plates which can’t be concealed. One thing to consider is that the lower the level, the easier it is to conceal. Level IIIa soft armor may still “print”, or show its outline underneath clothing.

Of course sacrificing bulk also sacrifices protection. Level IIIa will protect against most common weapons and also minimize blunt force trauma, an often overlooked benefit. If you go lower than that, you’ll have some vulnerabilities, but on the other hand you’ll be more stealthy.

Heavy Weapons and Blades

The only other thing to consider is the possibility of heavy weaponry. As you may already know, getting to know your neighborhood is a very important factor in planning. If it looks like you might actually be threatened by heavy weapons, get some small arms protective insert (SAPI) plates and store them in a safe place. Only put them on when you need them– no need to go traipsing around with an extra 15 pounds of weight for no reason.

Also consider getting vests rated for stab and spike protection. Blades and points are different than bullets, and bullet proof only vests will not protect against them. Overall, it’s key to know that no body armor will protect against everything. The best defense is preparation and staying calm in the face of danger. Even then, having the right bullet proof vest may save your life.

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A Rolling Bug Out Baghttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/18/a-rolling-bug-out-bag/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/18/a-rolling-bug-out-bag/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 01:14:36 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14704 Written by Bolo on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Bolo and he discusses the merits of expanding your bug out bag concept to include your vehicle. This past weekend I completed a quarterly inventory of the gear that constitutes my ‘bug out’ bag. I should probably qualify that term since, in reality, a 4WD truck serves […]

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Written by Bolo on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Bolo and he discusses the merits of expanding your bug out bag concept to include your vehicle.


This past weekend I completed a quarterly inventory of the gear that constitutes my ‘bug out’ bag. I should probably qualify that term since, in reality, a 4WD truck serves as a full-time rolling get-home-bug-out platform. This is an approach to prepping that may not work for everyone, and that’s okay. It is important to each of us that we develop a system we are personally comfortable with; one that best utilizes the assets, space and gear at our disposal. My planning is based around the use of a truck as the primary means of evacuation/escape, but with an expectation that I will be on foot at some point. These two factors, combined with my geographic locale, climate and anticipated travel distances are the driving forces in the selection of gear stowed in my truck.

To begin, I live in a high desert mountainous zone of the southwest, so my preparations may differ from what you might find necessary where you live. Even so, the items that I stock for a bug out scenario, allowing for seasonal variations, should be generally representative of the gear that you might want to consider. Because I live in an arid zone, one of my great concerns is access to water. Because I live in a mountainous zone, I can experience sub-freezing temperatures and snow.

Second, I operate on the premise that, under most conceivable bug out circumstances, I will not be going solo. That is, there will be several vehicles moving to a rally point, then to a pre-selected objective. Although I am not responsible for what may be contained in these companion vehicles, I will be carrying gear that can be used (and will likely be needed) by others. Should circumstances prevent a link up I will still be self-sufficient for the period of time needed to reach my destination, whether by vehicle or on foot.

Finally, I removed the rear seats from my cab to maximize storage capacity. That might be something you are not willing to consider but, remember this: in a life-threatening emergency, you can’t eat your back seat.

As a frame of reference, my primary bug out objective is approximately 80 miles distant via paved road. Travel time under ordinary conditions would be about an hour and 45 minutes through mountainous country. But, you have to toss out the concept of “ordinary” in any scenario that necessitates bugging out. Highways could be blocked by abandoned cars or purposely blockaded.

If it became necessary to strike out cross-country on back roads and 4WD trails, my travel distance is reduced to about 60 miles, but travel time conservatively expands to two days.   If I had to hump it on foot, it would be necessary to abandon established 2-track roads in favor of a route that guarantees regular access to water – all of which would require filtration or purification. The distance is reduced to about 50 miles, but the bad news is that there are three mountain ranges rising from 5,500 to 8,000 feet between my home location and my bug out destination. As a result, my travel time would conservatively expand to five days – and that assumes favorable weather and temperature conditions.

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

This is why I emphasize the value of staying with your vehicle as long as possible. Even if I only made half the intended distance on back roads before having to abandon my truck, I will have saved two or three days of backpacking on foot. It is a guarantee of mobility, relative safety and vastly increased comfort. It also ensures access to a multitude of gear options.

Organizing the Gear

Why would someone base their bug out preparations around their vehicle? Two integrally related words come to mind: space and options.

  • The capacity of a bug out bag is measured in cubic inches, where the interior of a quad cab truck (or SUV) is measured in cubic feet. The longer that I can maintain access to several cubic feet of gear, the less time I will be dependent upon the cubic inches of gear that I can stow in my bug out bag.
  • Having greater storage capacity means that you can multiply your options; you are no longer limited to a specific bug out inventory that fails to match the conditions you are actually confronted with. Will I use all of it? That is impossible to predict, but the utility of each item is reasoned and the need is plausible. Therefore its’ potential usefulness to me merits inclusion in my vehicle, though not necessarily in a backpack.
  • Having the gear already stowed, rather than sitting in various locations in my house, means that I can roll whenever the need arises. It means that I don’t have to go looking for my gear in an emergency, or that I risk forgetting something. Naturally, you wouldn’t plan to bug out at the drop of a hat, but it becomes an option if the gear is already loaded and things have gone to hell in a hand basket.
  • The volume of stowed gear is far more than one individual could carry, but I can distribute important items among several individuals if we are forced to abandon our vehicles.
  • Capacity also means that you can, at all times, have more of something that you deem essential, such as extra water and food, or ammo.
Even the backs of seats can be used creatively to store gear essential to your survival.

Even the backs of seats can be used creatively to store gear essential to your survival.

Compartmentalizing Your Gear

My cab interior is reserved for four types of items:

  • Those that are individually small and potentially easy to lose track of
  • Gear that needs to remain dry
  • Gear that could be easily damaged by rough handling (radios, optics, etc.)
  • Gear that may be attractive to theft if left sitting in the open

 

My primary bug out bag, (5.11 Rush24), has a capacity of 2,000 cubic inches in the main compartment.

The truck bed is reserved for larger items that are organized and ready for quick loading from my garage. Load up time takes about ten minutes.

If you think of the rear half of a quad cab interior (with the seats removed) as a large empty box, you will typically have a flat area between the doors as well as two passenger foot wells behind the front seats. In my case, this provides about 42 cubic feet of space for storage (>72,500 cu. in.). In contrast, my primary bug out bag, (5.11 Rush24), has a capacity of 2,000 cubic inches in the main compartment. In effect, my “rolling” bug out platform is the equivalent of 36 bug out bags; without even factoring in the capacity of the truck bed.

Trying to figure out the best way to store gear so that it is organized by function, need and portability can be a daunting exercise. I’ve made numerous changes and adjustments over time before becoming comfortable that I wouldn’t have to guess where something was. The key to this was to set up a series of experimental “go-to” boxes. I would take an item or piece of gear and ask myself how (and how often) it might be needed in a bug out or other type of survival scenario. Would it end up in someone’s backpack or be permanently assigned to a storage compartment in my truck? In other words, was it something that I could use, but that I was willing to leave behind if I found myself going cross-country on foot? A good example would be jumper cables: they are very important, but not something you would stuff into your backpack after you’ve abandoned your vehicle.

The result of this exercise was to establish fifteen modular storage containers for various types of items based on function, need and portability. And, by the way, a backpack, stuff bag or storage bin qualifies as a container. Organization allows for multiple (backup) items that can be stored in more than one container. I am a firm believer in the adage “two is one and one is none,” so I do carry extras of some items that I deem critical. For instance, I have two 12” machetes in my truck. One is stored in a lidded container, while the other is quickly accessible by simply reaching for it. Because they are short, they also easily fit into backpacks if I end up on foot.

Here is a list of the compartmentalized storage containers that I keep inside the cab. All of these fit in the area between the floor and the lower edge of the rear windows. If I needed to stow more inside gear or food, I would still have space for it.

Main Gear Box:

  • Items that would be used as long as my vehicle was available.
  • Back up portable gear that I would use before touching the contents of my bug out bag.

Food/Cooking Box:

  • The equivalent of two weeks of food if I was on foot.
  • Cooking gear, including backpacker stove and fuel sufficient for two weeks. I stow a second stove with an ample supply of fuel that I would use if encamped, but I would have to abandon these items if I was on foot. [I would use native fuels for cooking to conserve my fuel canisters.]

Compact Survival Bag:

  • Items that I would always carry with me if I had to abandon by vehicle.

First Aid:

  • Standard items, but bulked up.

Ammo Bag:

  • Ammunition for two firearms I would carry if on foot. It is the threshold below which I am not willing to go.
  • Given the opportunity to abandon my home in an orderly, unhurried manner I would certainly add more ammo for these calibers, as well as additional firearms and ammo.
  • Bore snakes and other firearm maintenance/cleaning gear.
  • Bandolier for ammo to supplement loaded mags.

Radio and GPS Bag:

  • 2 FRS/GMRS walkie talkies
  • 2 UHF/VHF radios
  • Charging cradles
  • Additional (frequency tuned) antennas
  • GPS unit

Battery Bag:

  • A significant supply of various batteries in sufficient quantity to last a minimum of two weeks.
  • Power inverter for recharging electronics as long as my truck is available.

Camo netting can keep you hidden from sight and is relatively simple to deploy.

Camo Bag:

  • One 10’ x 20’ reverse pattern camo net for my truck (or for shade).

Towel Bag:

  • Not much elaboration needed…

Sleeping Bags:

  • Seasonal change out from light weight to winter season.

Clothing Bag:

  • Seasonal change out between summer and winter months.

Tool Bag:

  • A permanent cache of automotive tools that would remain with my truck if I had to abandon it.

Bug Out Bag #1:

  • 5.11 Rush24 primary bag with add-on pouches and a water bladder.

Bug Out Bag #2:

  • Severe Weather gear with space to carry additional items.

Bug Out Bag #3:

  • Open for assignment.

In addition to these bags and packs, I store 17 “loose” items in the rear cab. These primarily provide shelter options and include a variety of tools that can be used to construct shelter. Some of these items lay flat, can be stuffed into other containers, or can fit into niches in the rear area of the cab. If necessary, I would abandon some of these items if I had to make a go of it on foot. For example, I keep heavy-duty bolt cutters in the cab in case I have to cut through a chained gate while driving. If on foot, I would simply climb over the fence.

My primary bug out bag is, of course, pre-stocked. The remainder of the gear is the functional equivalent of a scaled down survival department store. Over the course of time I have used every item in the field, so its’ utility has already been established.

Would the concept of a rolling bug out bag work for you? That’s something you have to evaluate for yourself. My objective is simply to provide ideas that can be adapted to the circumstances you might encounter.   Your comments and ideas are welcome!

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SHTF Weapons Checklisthttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/17/shtf-weapons-checklist/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/17/shtf-weapons-checklist/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:59:40 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14686 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can prevent as well as cause death, so their use and acquisition isn’t something to be taken lightly. We routinely talk about firearms under the security […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can prevent as well as cause death, so their use and acquisition isn’t something to be taken lightly. We routinely talk about firearms under the security category when I am mentioning the 4 things you should focus on when you are prepping, but simply having a weapon isn’t the end. You can check the box on having a firearm in your SHTF arsenal, but to be better prepared, you should look at what else needs to be planned for with that firearm to ensure that tool doesn’t become an expensive paperweight shortly after you need it.

Don’t get me wrong; just the fact that you have a firearm and a box of ammo is an advantage should you be called on to protect or defend your life, but history has shown us in order to be more fully prepared, there are other considerations that you need to account for and these topics are what I wanted to bring up today on the Prepper Journal. What are all of the other things you need to consider for your safety and protection that you may need to maintain that firearm and conversely your ability to protect yourself if the grid goes down?

Why do you need weapons if the grid goes down?

Before we get into the SHTF weapons checklist, I wanted to briefly paint a picture for you. Some disaster has happened and society is in chaos. Let’s take the example of an economic collapse which as I discussed the other day is a real and tangible threat our country faces. When millions (more) are out of work, services are cut and there are shortages on food, gasoline, power and protective services of police, people will get angry. Once they are angry, people will get desperate and once people get desperate, you better watch out.

A firearm is only a tool, but it is a tool designed to inflict mortal damage on your opponent. In the case of a desperate individual breaking into your home, would you rather have a firearm or harsh language? For me personally, I want firearms to be a tool my family has at our disposal in a case just like this. Above all things, I hope I never am forced to use a firearm in defense of my life or the lives of anyone in my care, but the pragmatist in me doesn’t believe for a second that people are always good deep down. I know people can be evil and act in ways that are dangerous. To believe anything else is foolish I believe so I prepare for evil and dangerous people while hoping I will never see that.

What are the best weapons for SHTF?

So if you are still hanging with me by now and don’t already have a firearm, you might be asking what are the best weapons to have on you in a STFT scenario. This question can be answered many different ways and I have actually written on this subject before. If I am looking holistically at an array of weapons you need for many different STHF scenarios, I would make similar recommendations as in our Top 5 Firearms You Need To Get Your Hands On Now, but this is an ideal scenario, not just what is necessary.

I have also recommended a shotgun as the best weapon for home defense under the assumption that if you only had time/money to purchase one weapon, what would that be. For a SHTF scenario, I think I have changed my mind somewhat on the best single weapon to a pistol. I read a post from FerFal who has his own blog. Ferfal lived through the Argentinian economic crisis and he makes a compelling case for the pistol as the best weapon for SHTF and I tend to agree with him. The main reason is that a pistol over any rifle or shotgun is highly concealable. Even if there is an economic collapse, life won’t immediately turn into Mad Max so as FerFal rightly proposes, you will still have to function in society for some time before you can whip out your camo outfit and go running down the streets geared up for battle.

The right pistol can be used for home defense easily and as I mentioned above, you can take it outside with you concealed so you can also have protection away from your home. I do still think that ideally you would have more weapon options, but a pistol would seem to be a priority for living in the immediate aftermath of any SHTF fallout.

What else do you need for SHTF?

OK, so for the rest of this article we are going to assume you have procured a SHTF weapon of some form, likely a pistol but what else would you need? A firearm is just a tool like I said and that tool needs several things to function ideally in bad situations for a long time. When we are talking about SHTF, you aren’t getting much worse than that and we will also assume a trip to Walmart or your local Sporting Goods store is out of the question.

Do you have supplies to keep your firearms clean after SHTF?

Ammo – Any weapon you have is going to need ammo and many people have asked me how much ammo do you need. Each person has to answer this question for themselves. I know some preppers who will say you can never have too much ammo. These people plan to not only never worry about running out, but logically state that ammo will be more valuable than precious metals after a collapse. Selco, who runs SHTFSchool.com and who lived through the Bosnian War where his city was under siege for years wrote that he personally gave all his gold for ammunition. Now, he says he keeps 2000 rounds per weapon. Your mileage may vary but consider how much ammo you need if you can never go to the store again. How much do you think you would need for one week? For one month? For one year? Purchase Hollow-points for damage and ball for practice.

Cleaning supplies – Sometimes we overlook how many weapon cleaning supplies you might need. Imagine the worst scenario. Do you have enough cleaning supplies for your weapons to last? Do you have a portable weapon cleaning kit? Do you have all of the right brushes for your various bore sizes? Do you have spare oil and cleaning solvent?

Magazines – Most new pistols will come with one or two magazines, but what if you lose one? What if during the chaos of a firefight, home invasion or attempted car-jacking you have to change magazines and in the panic, leave one on the ground that you aren’t able to find? Do you have spares to replace what could be lost? What about your AR-15? Do you have enough magazines for a load out and spares to replace those if you have to ditch your gear for some reason?

Holsters – This is one thing I think most people overlook and that is a good holster for your pistol. Sticking this down your pants isn’t the ideal way to carry concealed so a good holster is really important to have if you plan on carrying that firearm around with you. I would opt for a good concealed holster first and then get your go to war holster if you need one after that. Most people will only ever need a good concealable holster.

Spare parts – Things break all the time and you won’t be able to log on to Amazon.com to get 2-day free shipping in order to be resupplied after SHTF. You can now purchase spare parts for your weapons online easily so it may make sense to have spare parts on common items that may need replacing(if any) on your model of firearm . One of the reasons I like sticking to one weapons platform is that parts are interchangeable in many cases. I am partial to Glock so some of my magazines, all component parts and some barrels are interchangeable with different Glock weapons I own.

Training – Training is crucial because even if you have the best firearm in the world, pallets of ammunition and enough spare parts to last a lifetime, you still need to know how to use that weapon. Training at a minimum should enable you to safely use the weapon to hit what you are aiming at. You should be comfortable reloading ammunition, changing magazines, clearing jams or malfunctions and taking the weapon apart and putting it back together for cleanings. There are all forms of advanced tactical training courses out there too, but know the basics first.

I think that if you have a plan to keep a firearm for self-defense and you foresee a situation where you could be putting this weapon to use in a bad scenario, you should consider the checklist above. Do you have these bases covered? Did I miss anything?

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Is It Too Late to Start Preparing for Economic Collapse?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/15/is-it-too-late-to-start-preparing-for-economic-collapse/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/15/is-it-too-late-to-start-preparing-for-economic-collapse/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 22:45:15 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14668 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

If you have not by now been convinced of the precarious state of our economy, there may be no reaching you, at least not with any powers of persuasion I have. There are too many sources who have warned of approaching calamity for years to mention without turning this article into a compendium of links. […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

If you have not by now been convinced of the precarious state of our economy, there may be no reaching you, at least not with any powers of persuasion I have. There are too many sources who have warned of approaching calamity for years to mention without turning this article into a compendium of links. Industry experts have said we are headed for an economic collapse unlike any seen before in history, but for those who want to argue, I will throw out just three recent examples.

You can argue that these people aren’t trustworthy or they are intentionally trying to make a buck off scaring people and that may well be true. I can’t say I have any financial clout myself and the markets are just as mysterious to me as the next guy. I can tell you I have long had a feeling though and I tend to trust my gut.

But even without my personal economic induced indigestion, do you really believe all is sunshine and roses out there? There are simply too many in-your-face signs that rather than recovering, things are getting worse. Are we as a nation and the world at large better off than we were 10 years ago? I don’t think so.

Now I want to add a little conspiratorial flavor to the mix just to spice things up. The Bilderberg conference that just wrapped up had as part of its agenda, the topic of capital controls. For those who don’t know what that means, capital controls were implemented in Cyprus in 2013 where banks closed for weeks, people were unable to withdraw any of their own money and eventually, some of their savings were taken. Where I come from that’s called stealing and they are now discussing the same thing with Greece.

But those are other countries you say. Nothing like that could ever happen to the rest of the world because we have our stuff together. Really? The debt of the US is well over $18 Trillion dollars and other countries hold our debt. Is a scenario where that debt is called in out of the realm of possibility? OK, maybe it is, but let’s look at some other conspiratorial ingredients to the overall story.

Pastor Lindsey Williams who claims to be friends with “elites” who disclose secret information in confidence with him has shared that recently he was told that within the next three months, the World Bank and IMF will force a reevaluation of the currencies of 204 nations. Would this be good economic news for the U.S. or nothing to worry about? Could that all be a load of crap and nothing you should even bother giving any credit to? Perhaps. Are there even 204 nations in the world? Not according to the World Atlas, but this news isn’t completely surprising to me.

Argentina experienced an economic collapse from 1998-2002. Would you be able to hold out for four years?

Argentina experienced an economic collapse from 1998-2002. Would you be able to hold out for four years?

Is economic collapse even a possibility?

So maybe the conspiracy angle isn’t something you are interested in entertaining for any one of a myriad of reasons and the industry pundits who are calling for doom in the markets are easily ignored by you. Maybe Martin Armstrong who has predicted a crash roughly in the last part of 2015 is wrong also and all of this doom and gloom is precisely what you hate about some prepping blogs. If that’s you, maybe this article won’t resonate and you can catch me on the backside when I start talking about more appropriate things like finding water, starting fires or lists of prepping supplies you need.

I for one know economic collapse is a very real thing and this has happened throughout history multiple times. Nothing in our current trajectory gives me any hope that we will pull out of this dive without going through massive pain first and even though I have no proof, no degree in economics or even a really sharp understanding of capital markets and business cycles, the signs are on the wall for me. What I have been able to read and witness myself makes me feel like we are getting closer and the sense of urgency to prepare is greater again.

Just in the relatively recent past, Argentina had an economic collapse that lasted for 4 years. This isn’t really new for Argentina, who unfortunately has had a history of economic ups and downs, but if you want to see just how similar the circumstances they went through leading up to the crisis of 1998, you might want to watch this movie below. Before you do, realize that 100 years ago, Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. If it can happen there, it can happen here.

Economic collapses happen and when they do people lose their jobs. The costs of all goods rise to levels that are unlivable in some situations. Argentina had over 50% of their population who were considered poor and 25% who were indigent. You can protest and riot in the streets for change and that is what a good portion of citizens in Argentina did, but what is more important to me is taking care of my family should we ever face that same situation or similar in the U.S.

How can you prepare for economic collapse?

Even if a currency reevaluation occurs, you likely won’t notice anything different right away. You may find that you still have a job, the stores are still open and you can still take money out of your bank. But if the debt is called in or something else rocks the financial markets, we can expect a huge spike in the cost of goods. If the price of groceries doubles, what would you do?

Here are my personal priorities for getting ready for economic collapse:

Food

In Argentina and other areas affected by high inflation, food shortages were and are still common and even when they had food, people couldn’t afford what they once were able to buy. Besides our mortgage, food is the second highest monthly bill we have. Along with my current preparations if I read in the news about any capital controls or currency reevaluations, my first stop is the local big box store for as many 50LB bags of rice, beans, seasonings like Salt, Pepper and Cayenne, Bouillon cubes, paper plates and cups and toilet paper as I can carry in a few trips. Why these items? These last a very long time and can feed you for a long time. Paper supplies can be burned if needed instead of trying to worry about using water to wash/flush. Why don’t I have them already? Space. I don’t have it right now but I would make space if I needed to.

Water

Why isn’t water my first priority? Only because I have some redundancy already built-in but it is something I am going to redouble my efforts at. For starters I am going to acquire two supplies to pull water out of our well that could help in a couple of other ways. I am getting a manual hand pump since our well isn’t too deep, upgrading the water rain barrels to something with a higher capacity like a 530 Gallon Slimline Rain tank. I will be adding backup Berkey Filters for in home water filtration capacity. With rainwater, local (nearby) sources of water and plenty of ability to filter water we should be set. Not having access to clean drinking water is an easy way to catch diseases and happens very frequently in poor countries or those affected by disaster.

Shelter

This is a broad topic and for the purposes of this article I am focusing on our house and specifically making it more secure. Plywood sheeting to board up doors and windows, heavy chains to secure items, tarps, brackets to make improvisational door barricades and hand tools for the ability to work without power.

Security

Security for my family is mostly centered around firearms but I will be purchasing additional backup magazines for my pistols, more ammunition and spare holsters for all pistols. Binoculars I already have, but I am considering purchasing Night Vision monoculars and additional Bullet proof vests. It only needs to save your life once to make it worth it.

Bugging Out

The BOV is already purchased, but I plan to augment its capacity with all terrain tires and a roof rack to hold additional cargo as well as improve the structural integrity with some skid plates. ITS tactical has a brilliant article on some DIY modifications along these lines that could help you out in a pinch.

Health and Hygiene

Most of this is already acquired, but better safe than sorry, right? Additional bandages, alcohol, fish antibiotics, trash bags, quick lime and for the ladies, I plan on purchasing Diva Cups. Sure, this isn’t a subject that I want to cover, but in terms of re-usability, there are far worse options.

Power

Solar panels or a system like Goal Zero’s Yeti 400 with some additional solar panels will be a quiet alternative to a generator that you can actually bring into your house. I already have various solar charging systems that offer a lower amount of redundancy. I would add to the rechargeable batteries I have.

Communications

I already have battery-powered shortwave radios and ham handhelds, but a better base unit and chimney mounted antenna along with batteries would round out my communication supplies.

These are just items I still need to purchase and have an increased sense of urgency about with the recent news. My hope is that next year at this time, like so many years before, we will be able to look back and collectively say, again; “Nothing Happened”. Even if that is true, I am continuing to prepare. If you knew there was some economic collapse right around the corner, would you do anything differently? What do you think?

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20 Edible Plants That Could Save Your Lifehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/13/20-edible-plants-that-could-save-your-life/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/13/20-edible-plants-that-could-save-your-life/#comments Sat, 13 Jun 2015 21:34:21 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14629 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Sometimes, you have to think outside of the freeze-dried food paradigm. You may find yourself in the woods forced to run from your home or camp because of marauders with nothing to eat. Fortunately, there are many edible plants that can save your life if you know what they are, how to identify them and […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Sometimes, you have to think outside of the freeze-dried food paradigm. You may find yourself in the woods forced to run from your home or camp because of marauders with nothing to eat. Fortunately, there are many edible plants that can save your life if you know what they are, how to identify them and are comfortable with preparing them.

I don’t personally think that I will love eating a bunch of weeds to survive, but I will if needed. In a long-term disaster, I would certainly consider them vital to preserving life and the right edible plants could augment your gardens and food stores. I wanted to write up this list of 20 edible plants that are found mostly in the temperate region. There are certainly others you could find growing near you, but this is a good start. If I am able to master 20 edible plants in the area where I live, I would consider that a huge benefit to my prepping needs.

There are a lot of very recognizable plants you can eat like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and so on, but I didn’t want to add those to the list.

Plants to avoid

Before you grab a good book on edible plants and run out into the woods with a bowl and a fork, you should practice some caution with this process. Not all plants are edible and knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. Before you forage, here are some simple rules to follow when you are trying to identify a plant.

Do not eat any plants that have the following traits

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Grain heads with purple/pink or black spurs
  • Beans, bulbs or seeds inside pods
  • Yellow, white or red berries
  • Soapy or bitter taste
  • Never eat plants with thorns.
  • Steer clear of plants with shiny leaves.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms. Many are safe to eat, but many are highly toxic and even deadly, so it’s not worth the risk.
  • Umbrella-shaped flowers are a bad sign. Stay away from these plants.
  • Avoid anything that smells like almonds.
  • Same as poison ivy, stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three.

Before venturing out into the woods to forage for edible plants, it makes sense to have a guide.

In addition to avoiding all of those traits, you want to forage for wild edible plants in areas that are less likely to have toxins. Plants growing near homes could have been sprayed many times with chemicals. Plants in water that is contaminated will likely hold that same contamination. Plants by the road will have picked up many harmful chemicals and pollution.

Before eating, use the Universal Edibility Test

Before taking the test, you need to fast for 8 hours. If you are desperate enough to need to find edible plants, this might be already the case.

  1. Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  2. Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds and flowers
  3. Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate if a plant is edible or not.
  4. During the 8 hours you are fasting, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to get a reaction if there is going to be one.
  5. During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and that plant part you are testing.
  6. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  7. Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
  8. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue and hold it there for 15 minutes. DO NOT SWALLOW.
  9. If there is no burning, itching, numbing, stinging , or any other irritation, swallow the plant part.
  10. Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
  11. If no ill effects occur, each ¼ cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If everything is still good after all of these steps, the plant is considered edible.

Note: Just because the part you tested is edible, that doesn’t mean the entire plant is edible. Test all parts the same way before eating them.

List of Edible Plants

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)

Amaranth is an edible weed found almost everywhere. You can eat all parts of the plant but some leaves contain spines. Boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates.

Amaranth is an edible weed found almost everywhere. You can eat all parts of the plant but some leaves contain spines. Boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Wild Asparagus grows in most of Europe and North America. This looks different than the fatter stalks you normally eat but can be eaten raw or boiled. Add a little butter and salt.

Wild Asparagus grows in most of Europe and North America. This looks different than the fatter stalks you normally eat but can be eaten raw or boiled. Add a little butter and salt.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

First-year roots and second-year stems can be cooked by boiling for about 20 minutes, then season to taste. Before cooking however, the stems should be peeled, and roots scrubbed in order to remove the bitter rind.

Young plant roots and stems can be cooked by boiling for about 20 minutes, then season to taste. Before cooking however, the stems should be peeled, and roots scrubbed in order to remove the bitter rind.

Cattail (Typha species)

The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted.

The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted.

Clover (Trifolium)

 

I have never been able to find a four-leaf clover but you can't walk out in my back yard without stepping on this plant. You can eat the leaves raw or boil them.

I have never been able to find a four-leaf clover but you can’t walk out in my back yard without stepping on this plant. You can eat the leaves raw or boil them.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.

Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.

Chickweed (Stekkarua media)

Chickweed is a very nutritious herb, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E along with Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc plus essential fatty acids. It can be eaten as a salad vegetable or cooked and eaten like cabbage.

Chickweed is a very nutritious herb, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E along with Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc plus essential fatty acids. It can be eaten as a salad vegetable or cooked and eaten like cabbage.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. They can also be dried and stored for the winter or blanched and frozen.

Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. They can also be dried and stored for the winter or blanched and frozen.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw.

Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw.

Plantain (Plantago species)

The leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a spinach substitute, and are awesome raw in salads and blended into green smoothies, especially the younger ones as the mature leaves may taste slightly bitter.

The leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a spinach substitute, and are awesome raw in salads and blended into green smoothies, especially the younger ones as the mature leaves may taste slightly bitter.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Pokeweed can be poisonous if not prepared carefully.

Pokeweed can be poisonous if not prepared carefully. You have to ensure you don’t get the roots and the shoots aren’t too long.  Make sure you learn more about the proper cultivation and preparation of this plant before eating it.

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species)

Both the pads and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus are edible.

Both the pads and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus are edible.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

The moisture-rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick.

The moisture-rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

The leaves of Sassafras texture and can be used raw or cooked in salads or eaten right off the plant, unlike the berries, the leaves have a mild pleasant taste.

The leaves of Sassafras texture and can be used raw or cooked in salads or eaten right off the plant, unlike the berries, the leaves have a mild pleasant taste.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

You can use the leaves in salad, or make into soup.

You can use the leaves in salad, or make into soup.

Thistle (Cirsium species)

Flower head shown: Just strip the green off the leaf leaving the very edible midrib.  Rub the “wool” off and enjoy, raw or cooked.

Flower head shown: Just strip the green off the leaf leaving the very edible midrib. Rub the “wool” off and enjoy, raw or cooked.

Water lily and lotus (Nuphar, Nelumbo, and other species)

Leaves gathered anytime during the growing season (although, again, early spring growth is best of all) make good greens. Chop the pads into noodle-like strips and boil them in one change of water. The addition of a little bacon doesn't hurt a thing.

Leaves gathered anytime during the growing season (although, again, early spring growth is best of all) make good greens. Chop the pads into noodle-like strips and boil them in one change of water. The addition of a little bacon doesn’t hurt a thing.

Wild onion and garlic (Allium species)

ll parts of this particular Wild Onion/Garlic are edible, the underground bulbs, the long, thin leaves, the blossoms, and the bulblets on top.

All parts of this particular Wild Onion are edible, the underground bulbs, the long and thin leaves.

Wild rose (Rosa species)

etals can be added to salads , desserts, beverages, used to make jelly or jam and be candied

etals can be added to salads , desserts, beverages, used to make jelly or jam and be candied

Wood sorrel (Oxalis species)

The leaves, flowers, green seed pods, and roots are all edible, raw or cooked. It can be eaten straight out of the ground, added to soups, made into a sauce, or used as a seasoning. As a seasoning, it provides a lemony/vinegary taste to whatever it's added to.

The leaves, flowers, green seed pods, and roots are all edible, raw or cooked. It can be eaten straight out of the ground, added to soups, made into a sauce, or used as a seasoning. As a seasoning, it provides a lemony/vinegary taste to whatever it’s added to.

 

Now that you have some more information about the edible plants near you, why don’t you try eating some of these varieties the next time you go for a hike in the woods. Any wild edible plants that you eat that didn’t make the list?

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Are You Prepared Enough?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/11/are-you-prepared-enough/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/11/are-you-prepared-enough/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 23:24:08 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14614 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you need to do personally, it usually begins a search on what you need to be prepared. This searching can lead to checklists of prepping supplies […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you need to do personally, it usually begins a search on what you need to be prepared. This searching can lead to checklists of prepping supplies which can provide guidance or a place to start but in reality; the process is different for each person. The answer to the question of what you need to do in order to get prepared isn’t something that anyone else can answer for you and in the end, is almost wholly dependent on what happens and where you are when “it” happens to you.

I have often sat down and compiled lists of things I need to accomplish in the main areas I focus on with prepping. My very first list had dozens of items and now, since I have been prepping for a little over 8 years, my lists aren’t quite as expansive. I have been acquiring the needed supplies and making preparations so that I don’t need as much as I thought I needed in the beginning. One thing I have learned though is my list overall still contains the exact items I thought I would need back in 2007, just the quantities of what is left to do have gone down.

The concept of making lists again made me think of the question I have asked before of myself. Are you prepared enough for what you think is coming down the road? Have I made the best plans you could have made knowing what I know? Have I made the right fiscal decisions to put me in the most advantageous position should the economy collapse? Have I shared enough information with my family and in my own small way, the rest of the world? Have I done enough? Am I prepared?

Are you prepared enough?

How much preparation can anyone do that we could consider the level of those same preparations to be sufficient? I have stated before that prepping is a journey, not a destination and I still subscribe to that theory, but depending on the situation; I could have more than I needed. What if there was a regional storm that caused minor flooding in my town and the utilities were out as well as roads for a month. Would I have enough supplies to last? Yes, I certainly would.

What if there was a crisis that lasted two years? Would I have enough?

Getting back to how much you need, it all comes down to what the emergency is, what your situation is at the time and how other influences impact you after the crisis begins. You could have enough food to last you for a year, but add in 6 family members who you take in and that amount of time could go down to 2 months. You might not have enough in your eyes, but the hungry family might think you are prepared enough. What if you have 2 years’ worth of food stored safely in your basement but you are away on vacation and a tornado rips right through your town and sucks everything you have been working on up into the air?

We can make as many plans as we want but if something happens outside of our plans we will have to adjust. Thinking that you have the answers to all of the different scenarios posed in your head is well and good, but you should account for contingencies. More importantly, you have to face the reality that you might walk into TEOTWAWKI with nothing but the shirt on your back.

Prepping is at best a stop gap measure. It isn't an end.

Prepping is at best a stop-gap measure. It isn’t an end.

You are asking yourself the wrong question

You can inventory all of your prepping supplies and make lists; I do it too. I use these lists to gauge what I have left to accomplish in my mind. I check items off so that my imaginary supply room of everything I need, will be filled with precisely what I think will be the minimum necessary but I try not to ever think I have enough. Does this mean I am stocking supplies up as much as possible? Does this mean I keep buying ammo or food or weapons until I have no money left? No and I think if you are looking to reach some level where you can say, “I think I have enough to last…” you might be looking at this the wrong way.

There is a danger in thinking that there is ultimate security in your supplies. Why do I say that? For one thing, your supplies can be taken away from you. Your supplies will eventually go bad if left unused or in the right conditions. Your supplies, if you have to rely on them will eventually dissipate down to nothing. Having a 6-month supply of food or a few thousand rounds of ammo and some gasoline stored doesn’t mean I am any better prepared than the neighbor down the street when the time comes. It does certainly mean I have put some thought into this that the average bear might not have considered, but does that make me better prepared?

When my family asks me questions like, how much food do I have or basically, how long could we live on what we have stored, I have to guess. Sure, I know roughly how much food is stored and I have calculated how long we could eat on that food but I don’t consider myself prepared really. I am looking at this as a stop-gap measure. Could my preparations buy me and my family some time? Yes, very possibly we could be sitting pretty while others go hungry, at least for some time. Does that mean I am prepared enough? Not hardly.

Prepping isn’t about storing up supplies and quietly riding out Armageddon from the comfort of your easy chair, happily eating your MRE’s and enjoying reruns of the office on your Solar Powered DVD player. The steps you are taking today might not be enough for the disaster you face. Are they better than nothing? Absolutely, but don’t become complacent and cross the last item off your list and sit back and wait. Prepping should be constant movement, preparation, consideration of your environment and the world around us and you have to reevaluate what is happening all of the time. We shouldn’t think we know what is coming, even though we can prepare for certain scenarios.

When you start asking yourself the question of are you prepared enough, the answer is it really depends on what you are forced to go through. Looking back after you have made it through alive is the only way to answer that question. Making it through alive should be what we are striving for.

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Simple Sabotage as a Tool for Dire Circumstanceshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/08/simple-sabotage-as-a-tool-for-dire-circumstances/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/08/simple-sabotage-as-a-tool-for-dire-circumstances/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 03:16:07 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14593 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The topic of prepping or survivalist is mixed into a lot of different schools of thought, hypothetical scenarios and debate. At its core, prepping and survival are concepts we try to employ to live. We prepare for bad things happening so that we aren’t as impacted. We learn the concepts of survival so that even […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The topic of prepping or survivalist is mixed into a lot of different schools of thought, hypothetical scenarios and debate. At its core, prepping and survival are concepts we try to employ to live. We prepare for bad things happening so that we aren’t as impacted. We learn the concepts of survival so that even if something bad does happen, we will know what to do in order to preserve our lives. These are excellent practices I think everyone should weave into their lives in responsible ways.

But the inevitable question that follows is something along the lines of “What are you prepping for?” and this again can be for a wide array of reasons. Some people could be prepping for an economic collapse, others for tornadoes. You might be learning survival skills because you want to live a more self-sufficient life or plan to be able to survive if you are lost on a hiking trip deep into the Pacific Northwest. On the other hand there are those who believe our entire society will collapse in an End of the World as You know it event so their survival skills will keep them from death’s doorstep whenever the days of working a job and going to the store are over.

Yet another group sees sinister, tyrannical forces at play so they prepare for a fall of government or worse, an overly oppressive government or occupation by forces hostile to the America we grew up in, whose fading memory is still held dear in the hearts of disillusioned millions. For this group, preparing and survival take on a slightly different theme. For this group, survival usually means armed resistance or flight to a remote location with the threat of armed resistance at some point.

The story might not end the way you think it will

If we do see some horrific collapse in our lifetimes, are we losing sight of the larger picture in some respects? There is a discussion about arming yourselves to defend against looters or to defend (to the death) your 2nd Amendment rights and I think those are valid reasons and ways to prepare for those who are so inclined, but do you really think the only options are going out in a big battle or winning some war like Washington back in 1783?

Crude but effective sabotage methods on train tracks during WWII.

Crude but effective sabotage methods on train tracks during WWII.

Is there only one ending to this hypothetical doomsday scenario we have playing over and over again in our minds? What if your plans to take down the forces that drive down your street don’t work out the way you had envisioned? What if nobody ever shows up to take your guns? What if something else happens that you never thought of that still puts you under the boot of an oppressive regime? What if for some reason you are forced into a system that you don’t like but is necessary for survival in some way? Is all lost because you didn’t go out in a hail of bullets when the time came? Are there no other choices for you than dying in a shootout or running through the woods and eating roots for the rest of your days?

There is more than one way to resist

I came across this old document while out searching one day called “Simple Sabotage” which was printed back in WWII by the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was the precursor to the modern CIA and it was their job to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for the various branches of service. Like their modern counterparts, the OSS used propaganda, subversion and in some cases, sabotage.

This manual was printed up for the express intent of being sent behind enemy lines and to be distributed to citizens of our enemies via pamphlets and targeted radio broadcasts. The booklet lists many ways that ordinary people in their ordinary jobs could sabotage the workings of our enemies. I thought this was a brilliant concept and while a lot of the information is dated and may not be applicable in today’s world, there were great ideas contained in the pages. The best part of this for me was the message of resistance. A way to help defeat the forces over you by less confrontational or provocative means. It was yet another way that barring a shootout, someone could potentially wreak havoc on oppressive forces if needed.

Disrupting shipments of supplies would be an effective form of sabotage.

Disrupting shipments of supplies would be an effective form of sabotage.

You can download the entire manual here, but I pulled just a couple of relevant sections out for ideas:

  1. A second type of simple sabotage requires no destructive tools whatsoever and produces physical damage, if any, by highly indirect means. It is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt a non-cooperative attitude and to induce others to follow suit. Making a faulty decision may be simply a matter of placing tools in one spot instead of another. A non-cooperative attitude may involve nothing more than creating unpleasant situations among one’s fellow workers, engaging in bickerings, or displaying surliness and stupidity.

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

You can imagine the people working in machine factories in WWII for the German manufacturing arm of the military industrial complex. Small actions could disrupt lines and cause major defects left unseen. This is just a simple example, but in today’s context you can see how simple acts of sabotage could be effective against an overpowering force. You don’t have to riot and burn buildings to cause destruction. There are more effective ways of causing damage if you think about it.

(2). Try to commit acts for which large numbers of people could be responsible. For instance, if you blow out the wiring in a factory at a central fire-box, almost anyone could have done it. On-the-street sabotage after dark, such as you might be able to carry out against a military car or truck, is another example of an act for which it would be impossible to blame you.

So maybe you don’t have the ability to defeat an army but you could still have an impact on their operations if you have some creativity.

(d) The saboteur should try to damage only objects and materials known to be in use by the enemy or to be destined for early use by the enemy. It will be safe for him to assume that almost any product of heavy industry is destined for enemy uses, and that the most efficient fuels and lubricants also are destined for enemy use.

(1) Buildings

Warehouses, barracks, offices, hotels and factory buildings are outstanding targets for simple sabotage. They are extremely susceptible to damage, especially by fire; they offer opportunities to such untrained people as janitors, charwomen and casual visitors; and when damaged, they present a relatively large handicap to the enemy.

Now what am I trying to say? I am not saying to go out and destroy anything. I am not advocating any of the actions described in this declassified military manual in our present day, but they are instructive. Could they be valuable ideas to keep in the back of your mind in one type of potential future? Maybe. That will be for you to decide. The manual is fascinating nevertheless and worth the read.

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Moving to Tornado Alley? What to Know Before You Gohttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/05/moving-to-tornado-alley-what-to-know-before-you-go/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/05/moving-to-tornado-alley-what-to-know-before-you-go/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:59:13 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14577 Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

They’re powerful, unpredictable and the most destructive weather system on Earth. Tornadoes can devastate a town in a matter of minutes, ripping away rooftops and sending pickup trucks through the air. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA), the United States has an average of over 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year. Every state […]

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

They’re powerful, unpredictable and the most destructive weather system on Earth. Tornadoes can devastate a town in a matter of minutes, ripping away rooftops and sending pickup trucks through the air. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA), the United States has an average of over 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year. Every state in the U.S. has experienced a tornado at some point or another, as they’re not limited to one specific geographic location. But states like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma are hit harder than others. If you’re moving to Tornado Alley, you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. Keep these tips in mind as you set up your new home:

Plan for Shelter

Keeping your family safe when a tornado strikes calls for a durable storm shelter. In-ground and above-ground shelters offer complete protection from the elements when inclement weather rolls in. Based out of Oklahoma, storm shelter company, Family Safe, offers certified in-home storm shelters that have been F5 certified, giving you complete protection from tornadoes. Family Safe also meets the FEMA criteria concerning reliable storm shelters. Just because they’re based out of Oklahoma doesn’t mean they can’t install a shelter at your home. Family Safe has storm shelter dealers across the U.S. and they’ve installed shelters in Dallas, Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Joplin, Missouri.

In addition to providing shelter from Tornadoes, these sturdy structures can also provide a safe room environment.

TornadoShelter

Shelters like this one in the garage can be installed after your home is constructed and could double as a panic room.

Plan for Communication

There are many things that should go into your survival kit, one of those items is an Iridium satellite phone. When communication goes out, your smartphone won’t be much help. Having a satellite phone in your bug-out bag is essential when it comes to weathering a storm. Iridium satellite phones rely on ground networks and 66 low Earth-orbiting satellites to establish a connection. A report by Frost & Sullivan found that the Iridium network offers the best call quality and call completion rates when compared to competitors. This is one of the reasons why the U.S. military relies on Iridium’s network. A sat phone is your lifeline in the midst of disaster. You’ll be able to call for help and check in with family and friends to let them know that you’re safe.

Of course only relying on technology is a short-sighted plan because things do go wrong. Have a back-up communication plan with relatives or neighbors to get the word out should something happen.

In addition to letting others know about your status after a tornado, it is important to receive as much advance warning of any approaching weather as possible. A good weather alert radio can warn you even if you aren’t watching the news or checking your smart phone. If you live in areas prone to tornadoes, a system like this is essential.

Practice your plan

Once you hear that tornado warning, you’ve got to take action. Having a well-established plan outlined before disaster strikes is critical to survival. Sketch a floor plan of your home and walk each room with your family to discuss how and where to seek shelter if you don’t have a secure, dedicated room described above. Identify second exits throughout the different areas of your home. Make sure that everyone knows where the fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are located. It’s also a smart idea to teach your entire family basic first-aid skills. Keep a list of important telephone numbers and contacts in a waterproof container inside of your survival kit. Store important information like the ownership certificates for your car, truck, RV or boat, your family’s birth certificates and social security cards and insurance policies in there as well.

When the sky turns dark and you spot a funnel cloud, you must take shelter immediately. Most tornado related injuries and fatalities are caused by flying objects, according to the CDC. Practice what you and your family will do to take shelter ahead of time. A tornado can happen anywhere, that’s why it’s also important to go over the best place to seek shelter, whether you’re at home, work or school.

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Being Prepared When You Are Away from Homehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/04/being-prepared-when-you-are-away-from-home/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/04/being-prepared-when-you-are-away-from-home/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 21:43:35 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14569 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Most of us who are into prepping are gathering some form of supplies. I always recommend gaining skills important to survival as well, but a good stored cache of food, water, means for shelter and security are at the top of my list. We consume things as humans and the natural tendency to prepare for […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Most of us who are into prepping are gathering some form of supplies. I always recommend gaining skills important to survival as well, but a good stored cache of food, water, means for shelter and security are at the top of my list. We consume things as humans and the natural tendency to prepare for emergencies, where the normal things we consume are unavailable, is to store extra. How much you are able to put away or feel is prudent to stock up on is up to the individual prepper.

The common denominator is that we need to store these prepping supplies somewhere. Sure you could roll through life with nothing more than your Altoid survival tin and your confident smile, but this article isn’t for you. This article is for the preppers who have stored supplies, usually in our homes, sometimes in hidden caches in the backyard or forest – possibly in your bug out location. When we store these supplies it is always with the intention of using them in an emergency if we need to. The main assumption is that you will be able to access these locations where your gear, food and tools are kept safely away from the peering eyes of your neighbors. But what if you are away when disaster strikes? What if you are hundreds of miles away from all of your plans and supplies? Is all lost?

Preparing for disaster while you are away

My plan for being prepared is to bug in should some massive emergency/ grid down/ SHTF event happen unless circumstances warrant I need to leave. My supplies are all in my home and bugging out and potentially leaving a lot of gear behind would be the last thing I would want to do. Unfortunately, I and millions of others have to leave our supplies all of the time.

Making it back home after an EMP is the plot of this book by A. American.

Every day I go to work, but that is not too far away. There are periodic vacations, business trips, family engagements or even all day excursions somewhere and if you are away from your home there could be serious delays or obstacles to you getting back to the supplies you have spent so much time and thought acquiring.

This topic comes up for me usually when I have to go out-of-town for business. If there was any time that Murphy was going to strike it would be while I was hundreds, possibly thousands of miles away from my family. Disaster probably won’t hit right after you have made the large Sam’s Club run, your ammo supply was recently topped off, everyone is home and healthy. No, you have to plan on getting by without those supplies for days, possibly weeks and make it back home if you can.

Communicating your plan

In the worst type of disaster, there would be no communications. We rightly advocate Ham radio to stay in contact, but that requires a few things come together and it isn’t really like a phone call around the world. Most handheld units require repeaters for any decent range and both units would have to be on the same repeater node for you to be able to communicate.

My family knows before I go anywhere that our plan is for them to stay put and even if they don’t hear from me, I will be coming home. We have backup locations for them to go if needed, but they will still communicate where they have gone should I arrive very late. This is important because in an EMP event for example, communications and even transportation could be completely destroyed but the properly outfitted prepper could make it back home with some planning and luck. This reminds me of the opening novel in the series by A.American on Going Home and it is core to one of my biggest fears. The main character is stranded hundreds of miles from his home in Florida after an EMP and has to make it back to his family. If I am separated from my family, but alive, that is what I will do also. If we are all together and away from home, there are different preparations, but less stress in some respects.

Walking home will present challenges and risks.

Walking home will present challenges and risks.

Getting Back Home

I was reading an old thread on a forum this morning talking about a hypothetical disaster scenario where the poster asking the question was trying to decide, post EMP whether they should stay at their work office for a few days and “let things calm down” or to leave immediately to get back to his family. Almost every one of the commenters said they would leave right away and I agree.

I think barring planes crashing into buildings again or something very overt and unmistakable like an earthquake; if there isn’t a huge loss of life most people will sit still and wait for the police or firetrucks to arrive. They will wait for the power company to get things working again and the FEMA folks to bring cots and blankets. The last thing on their minds will be to panic and by the time they do it will be too late.

Getting out ahead of the crowd is crucial and it is this aspect of disaster that requires you to be very aware of what is going on in the world around you. You could start your journey earlier or acquire last-minute supplies before the stores are cleaned out and while people will still accept cash for purchases by simply acting first. If I know there has been some major event, my plan is to grab anything I can to facilitate my journey and head to the house. It depends on the disaster but let’s assume you must walk.

What do you need to survive along the way?

What would you take with you on this trip that could facilitate your efforts to get back home? Some people back a modified bug out bag on their travels. Certainly this would seem to connect the dots, but it is a little impractical for most trips. What I do always have with me is my EDC. These are the basics of a knife, multi-tool, bandanna, water bottle, and flashlight and depending on the destination, a firearm. I do have to always check my luggage when flying. These are great tools, but ideally I would have more gear or be able to acquire it before I start my trip back.

In addition to that, I will carry a very lightweight day-hike style bag from Camelbak that also has a hydration bladder. This folds down into nothing in my regular suitcase and will allow me to carry gear and keep my hands free. To this I add a few more things:

These all take up very little room in my suitcase. I also pack for conditions should I have to walk back so that includes rain gear, base layers, fleece and wool caps in the winter as well as sturdy walking shoes. Summertime it might be hikers like Keens but the winter time would require my heavy-duty boots. You don’t want to try walking home in January from Chicago in dress shoes.

What does this give me? It really is very basics I need to make the journey. I would still want to get food, some better shelter (tarp and sleeping bag or wool blanket) and a map for the journey. Food is something I can pick up before the panic sets in or could possible scavenge in a desperate situation shortly after the disaster. Depending on how far away, I might only need a day or two. Longer trips might require me to improvise. A business trip to China would make things very difficult and I doubt I would be able to pack enough food to make it home so these are generalities I know. If you could hit a sporting goods store or Walmart with cash immediately after the event you might be able to get these supplies and head out before others catch on.

Desperate times can bring out the best and worst in people. You should be on guard for traps.

Desperate times can bring out the best and worst in people. You should be on guard for traps.

Dealing with other people

Getting out quickly will put you ahead of some of the confusion but unless you live in the middle of nowhere, you will run into other people along your way. You could see people begging for help or supplies. There could be people who view you as a target because you look to have some semblance of a plan and a solution. Depending on the disaster and where you are, things could get dicey and desperate people could even try to deceive you to take advantage of your good side. Tough decisions would have to be made in a true disaster.

I would plan to travel at night as much as possible and sleep during the day well off the roads and as hidden as possible. This should reduce my exposure to anyone who thinks they deserve what I have. I would try to avoid congested areas as much as possible but if going around took too much time; I would try to make it through at night. A bike could greatly speed your journey and I would likely try to procure one if possible to make the miles go by faster. I would really be improvising along the way to take advantage of whatever situation I was presented with. Partnering up with someone headed your way could be advantageous or risky. You will probably just need to go with your gut on that move as well.

These are just some ideas but each of us has different lives with different realities. In a true disaster, we would each be on our own to survive as best we can given the hand we have been dealt. What are your plans for making it home if you are away?

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Bug out Nightmare: Stop Trench Foot Before It Stops Youhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/03/bug-out-nightmare-stop-trench-foot-before-it-stops-you/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/03/bug-out-nightmare-stop-trench-foot-before-it-stops-you/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 22:43:10 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14561 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

It’s like a bad scene out of a disaster movie mixed with your worst nightmare. Some event forces you and your family to leave your home with only your bug out bags on the backs of you and your family. The good news is you are prepared and have set aside provisions and planned for […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

It’s like a bad scene out of a disaster movie mixed with your worst nightmare. Some event forces you and your family to leave your home with only your bug out bags on the backs of you and your family. The good news is you are prepared and have set aside provisions and planned for the trip. You also have a destination 50 miles away at a relative’s house that is waiting for you with plenty of security and supplies. You expect the trip to take 3 days of walking back roads. Not ideal, but certainly doable.

The trip starts out normally enough but you were forced to travel in almost constant rain. At the end of day one everyone’s feet are sore, most have blisters and your younger children are starting to act like they can’t go on another mile.

Our bug out plans eventually come down to relying on our feet in a worst case disaster to carry us to safety. Sure we have options and my personal first option is staying in my home. When that fails me I have a bug out vehicle, but if that isn’t an option we strap packs to our backs and hit the trail. Injuries to your feet can incapacitate quickly so it is important to care for these modes of transport that would be crucial in a disaster scenario. One main issue with walking long distances is blisters. Another topic that is a little less discussed is trench foot.

What is trench foot?

Trench foot is caused when your feet are wet for long periods of time and as it advances, blisters can easily form in the skin that is first pruned and wrinkled. Left untreated these blisters can become infected, your skin begins to slough off. You can also experience swollen feet, cramping and numbness. Severe cases of trench foot can cause skin and muscle damage so this is something we want to get in front of quickly before it keeps someone from being able to walk.

Trench foot has been a problem as long as we have had feet and shoes, but it came to prominence in the trench warfare of WWI where soldiers would spend days with their feet covered in water and mud. While this likely won’t happen to your little survival group, minor effects of trench foot could cause issues and can be relatively easily prevented with some quick and simple tips.

Severe trench foot can cause tissue and muscle loss.

Severe trench foot can cause tissue and muscle loss. This man will never have to worry about clipping his toenails again.

How can you prevent trench foot?

The key to preventing trench foot is simple in theory. Keep your feet dry. The hard part is doing this as a habit and may be even more difficult if you are on the run or being pursued. Here are a few tips you can employ to help you.

  • Keep your feet dry and clean – Easier said than done. When you are hot, your feet sweat. When you have to cross water, your feet get wet or if you are forced to hike through rain, snow or wet grass. Assume your feet will get wet, but you can buy footwear and socks that help that condition. You can purchase waterproof boots and moisture wicking socks. When you stop, make sure you take your socks off and check your feet. If your socks are wet, allow your feet to dry Use foot powder if you have it and treat any blisters before they get worse.
  • Change your socks often – This simple act could do more good than almost anything else. Put on dry (a different pair) socks when you stop to take a break. You can hang the wet ones on your pack to dry out. Some people recommend two pairs, but I would say three are better so you can hopefully clean one pair too. Roll your socks inside out so you can keep up with what has been worn.
  • Let feet air out – Allow your feet to breathe and dry as long as possible especially if you are experiencing symptoms. Lying down will help with circulation. Again, if you are in a pursuit/combat situation, you don’t want to go to sleep with your shoes off, but for the rest of us, keeping your feet dry and healthy is easier than dealing with injury and infection. If the weather is very cold, you will have to adjust this, because you don’t want frostbite either.
Early signs of possible trench foot if left untreated and the feet aren't dried out.

Early signs of possible trench foot if left untreated and the feet aren’t dried out.

What should you have in your bug out bag?

There are a few simple supplies you can have in your bug out bag that will help you prevent and treat trench foot if you are forced to bug out.

  • 3 pairs of wicking socks
  • Foot powder to remove moisture
  • Moleskin or blister block to address blisters before they get worse
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Good hiking boots or shoes that allow your feet to breathe should help them dry faster. Waterproof boots should keep them dryer. Either has benefits depending on the conditions. I prefer heavy-duty hiking boots that take a beating.

Part of planning to bug out has to extend to more than just the necessary contents of your bug out bag. There is the health and well-being of the people you are bugging out with too that should be considered. Proper foot care will keep people healthier and keep them moving longer.

The post Bug out Nightmare: Stop Trench Foot Before It Stops You appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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The Best Way to Carry Concealedhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/02/the-best-way-to-carry-concealed/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/06/02/the-best-way-to-carry-concealed/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 01:16:57 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14544 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

As a concealed carry license holder, I am always looking for the best way to carry concealed in whatever situation I find myself in. What I have found over many years is that this requires a little bit of flexibility and the method of concealed carry and more importantly, whether it will work for you, […]

The post The Best Way to Carry Concealed appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

As a concealed carry license holder, I am always looking for the best way to carry concealed in whatever situation I find myself in. What I have found over many years is that this requires a little bit of flexibility and the method of concealed carry and more importantly, whether it will work for you, greatly depends on what you are carrying, where you are carrying and what you are planning on doing when you are carrying.

Today I wanted to discuss some of the methods of concealed carry that I have personally tried and share some of the advantages and disadvantages of each method from my own experience. I will talk about what works (for me) and what doesn’t and give you different scenarios where each might be better than another method. I am writing this post because for so many years I have been listening to “the experts” who advocate one method of concealed carry over another as gospel. Like the debate over which caliber handgun is the best or which is the best SHTF rifle: AR-15 or AK47, the debate over your personal best way to carry concealed will generate some different opinions.

Why carry concealed in the first place?

Before I begin with the different methods of concealed carry, let me briefly divert into why I carry concealed in the first place. Simply put, I carry concealed because I want options. If a bad guy is intent on doing me, my loved ones or even a stranger deadly harm I want to be able to address the threat with as much force as a bad guy is likely to have. Just recently, a man (in the video below) walked into a liquor store and started shooting up the place. The reason he did this doesn’t matter. The man is a lunatic who wanted to kill everyone and he should be dealt with as quickly as possible to save lives. According to news reports, what you don’t see is a concealed carry holder confronts the man off camera and put an end to the violence in the store. Unfortunately, the shooter escaped to injure his parents before he was finally put down by police.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to be a patron of that store when this idiot walked in there and started shooting? If that ever happens to me, I want the option to do something about it. That is why I carry concealed. Options. Prepping is like that too. I prepare so I don’t have to go hungry if the stores run out of food. I won’t go thirsty if the town’s water is polluted and I can’t drink from the tap. If I have to bug out and leave everything I have behind, I have that option.

Different ways to carry concealed

Since I am talking about options, let’s look at a few concealed carry options that I have personally used and I will give you the situation I used these in and my observations.

Pocket Carry

Pocket Carry is probably the most common form (until recently) of concealed carry I have used. Why? Well, I work in an office where I sit down at a desk all day and work on a computer. I also have to dress up sometimes, meet clients and mingle. Pocket carry for me is as simple as it gets for the right size weapon. To facilitate pocket carry, I chose the KEL-TEC P-3AT. The KEL-TEC was my first weapon purchased for the express purpose of concealed carry and this has it’s good points and bad points.

 

Pocket Carry is the most discrete and worry free method of carry, but compactness has it's drawbacks.

Pocket Carry is the most discrete and worry free method of carry, but compactness has it’s drawbacks.

 

Pros of Pocket Carry

  • Drop it in the pocket and forget about it.
  • Very concealable – I never have had anyone ask me about what is in my pocket and I have never had anyone accidentally touch my firearm when I pocket carry.
  • Works great in dress pants or jeans. Easily the least worry of printing in almost any situation.
  • Lighter weapon means you can also use this with lightweight hiking shorts without your pants falling down.

Cons of Pocket Carry

  • To get a weapon that will easily conceal in a pocket you have to limit your firepower somewhat. I used a .380 which is really not enough power in my mind now to effectively put down an attacker quickly. I know, I know, it’s all about shot placement, right and a .22 to the brain will stop someone just as fast as a .45. I disagree on that one. Would you want to go up against a bear or a 220 pound man who is high on Flakka with only a .380?
  • Sitting down in the car, seat buckled makes it really hard to whip this thing out. I could do it if I popped off the seat belt and reared back pretty far.
  • Pocket lint – minor issue I know , but man there is a lot of lint on my KEL-TEC so cleaning frequently was a good idea if for nothing else than it was embarrassing.
  • In some pants with larger pockets like my hiking pants, the holster would turn sideways with the barrel facing to my right making the draw a slightly more complicated process. Eventually the weapon would start swinging like I had a big rock in my pocket.
  • Reduces you to one pocket because you can’t put anything in there with your firearm.
  • I actually had to learn to flick the holster off with one finger because just drawing out the firearm would occasionally leave the holster on. The last thing I want to do is draw my weapon only to have it still safely ensconced in its holster and me with a stupid look on my face.

Small of Back

When I got my Glock 30SF, this was my preferred method of carry most times. I have heard this referred to by a few different names. 4 o’clock position behind your strong side hip is where I would always keep my heavy 45 and this had some advantages and disadvantages as well. The results for me were pretty much the same regardless of whether I carried inside the waistband or outside. Actually inside the waistband was much less comfortable.

Small of Back is great when I am moving around, not sitting for long periods of time and works better for me in cooler climates.

Small of Back is great when I am moving around, not sitting for long periods of time and works better for me in cooler climates. Holster is a sturdy leather.

Pros of Small of Back Carry

  • From the front, you are really concealed and there is no noticeable shape to discern.
  • Drawing from this position felt good and seemed natural. I didn’t have to manipulate my hand around the firearm, but again, this probably had some to do with the size of my handgrips too.
  • In the winter time or when I had more clothes needed for daily wear; this was my go-to concealed carry option.
  • Walking around this is very comfortable

Cons of Small of Back Carry

  • When you bend over, even slightly, people can see the lump in your back no matter the size of the weapon or whether it is inside the WB or outside.
  • You can’t tuck a shirt in with this method. Drawing would be a nightmare. Also, any kind of pack would be a pain with this method of carry.
  • If someone grabs you from behind, they might prevent you from drawing your weapon.
  • Someone could try to disarm you from behind and I know you are supposed to be more aware of things like this, but it is still a thought.
  • Sitting down is a pain. I couldn’t easily wear this at work.
  • On a long car trip? Forget it. Not only would your spine be out of whack, you would never be able to get to your firearm in an emergency.
  • I have been hugged and people will tap my firearm and ask me what that is. Depending on the situation I will either confess it is a weapon or lie and tell them it is an insulin pump.
  • Holstering might take a little longer. If you are carrying inside the waistband you might need to loosen your pants first.
  • Holster is right over my wallet which makes me have to carry the wallet in the front pocket.

Strong Side Hip

Carrying at the 3 o’clock position is what you typically see cowboys, military and police doing. This method places the gun directly on your belt, strong side so you can get to it easily in most situations.

Strong side carry is probably the most comfortable outside of pocket but the issues with printing are more pronounced.

Strong side carry is probably the most comfortable outside of pocket but the issues with printing are more pronounced. Holster is from Raven Concealed.

Pros of Strong Side Hip Carry

  • Drawing from the position was very intuitive and easy.
  • All you need is a slightly larger shirt or jacket to cover the weapon
  • Running or walking isn’t impeded by carrying in this position.
  • Holstering is simple.
  • This method of carry does not put the weapon in your back so sitting down isn’t a problem.
  • The weapon fits nicely beside your elbow so it is easy to maintain control or awareness of the weapon.

Cons of Strong Side Hip Carry

  • Even on the side, this method prints when you bend over and most people can see that you have something on your hip unless you are wearing a Fat Albert sized shirt.
  • In a car, this method is also usually covered by the seat-belt.
  • Again, this method is easily detected by hugs which happen from time to time.

Fanny Pack

Yes, I have used a fanny pack to conceal my .380 before when necessary. Fanny packs aren’t for everyone and they have to go on the front, not the fanny but they have some usefulness too.

Pros of Fanny Pack Carry

  • Many of the same advantages of Pocket carry. Drop it in the fanny pack and forget about it.
  • Very concealable – I never have had anyone ask me about what is in my fanny pack and I have never had anyone accidentally touch my firearm.
  • Works great in dress pants or jeans. Easily the least worry of printing in almost any situation.
  • Lighter weapon means you can also use this with lightweight hiking shorts without your pants falling down.

Cons of Fanny Pack Carry – Similar to Pocket Carry

  • To get a weapon that will easily conceal in a pocket you have to limit your firepower somewhat. I used a .380 which is really not enough power in my mind now to effectively put down an attacker quickly.
  • You do have to manage a zipper and possibly other things in the pocket before you draw.

Appendix Carry

This is the newest method I am trying to get used to because I finally got a hold of the new Glock 43 which is what I plan on carrying as my concealed weapon on most days now. Appendix carry takes some getting used to. Some people swear by it but I am still deliberating.

Appendix Carry is new to me, but with my new Glock 43 which boasts a lighter, yet powerful  weapon, it may be the new choice in some circumstances.

Appendix Carry is new to me, but with my new Glock 43 which boasts a lighter, yet powerful weapon, it may be the new choice in some circumstances. Holster is the Crossbreed Appendix Carry.

Pros of Appendix Carry

  • Arguably one of the best concealment of any method I have tried as long as I am standing up.
  • Can be used with a shirt tucked in or out
  • You can conceal a larger weapon
  • Drawing from Appendix carry might be a millisecond faster with practice.
  • You can drive while appendix carrying and still get to your weapon pretty easily.
  • I have never had anyone put their hands near my crotch at work.
  • Nobody hugs me down there.

Cons of Appendix Carry

  • Positioning, positioning, positioning. When I was first getting the hang of this, I think I pushed my holster too far down. Walking around this was OK, but bending over killed me. Once I lifted the holster up a little bit that got better.
  • Going to the restroom takes a little more finagling if you are carrying front and center.
  • I have to work a little more to get my thumb behind the grip because the weapon is pressed against my skin.
  • Might not be the best option for overweight people
  • If your weapon ever could go off, this is the absolute last place I would ever want it to be.

 

Ankle Holster

This is the last method I have tried and I only tried it for about an hour. I think I finally threw my ankle holster away because it was just too painful to even wear.

Pros of Ankle Holster

  • Great concealment with minimal printing

Cons of Ankle Holster

  • Small caliber needed to be practical
  • Weight of even the modest .380 hurt my ankles quickly
  • Drawing would require some additional physical movement and dexterity.

So there you have 6 different ways of carrying concealed. I know there are more like shoulder holsters and belly bands, but I have never used those methods myself. I used all of these methods based upon the situation and what I am carrying. For instance on business travel, I may pocket carry or appendix carry but never the other two. In the winter, outside of work I am more likely to strap the larger .45 on and carry behind my back because I won’t be sitting all day . I don’t think there is any one best way to carry concealed, but there are many different ways  that you can carry that suit you and the situation best.

Options.

What is your favorite way to carry concealed and why do you like that method?

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Prepper Leadership – Do You Know What Role Is Best for You?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/30/prepper-leadership-do-you-know-what-role-is-best-for-you/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/30/prepper-leadership-do-you-know-what-role-is-best-for-you/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 18:46:06 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14500 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Leadership is a strange thing. Many people throughout history have become reluctant, yet legendary leaders while others have been technically in a leadership position, but the results of their command were far from stellar. Several of the later type come to mind easily. Many preppers assume that during some catastrophe, we as a group will […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Leadership is a strange thing. Many people throughout history have become reluctant, yet legendary leaders while others have been technically in a leadership position, but the results of their command were far from stellar. Several of the later type come to mind easily. Many preppers assume that during some catastrophe, we as a group will naturally be tapped to be the leaders due to our forethought, preparation and skills –  presumably for dealing with the crisis, that others around us simply don’t have. On the surface I can see the merit in that idea because if I was in a situation that was completely foreign to anything I knew or was able to cope with, I would look to the people who seemed to know what they were doing and follow their lead.

Preppers take great strides to prepare for bad times but I don’t know that simply “being prepared” or having a plan will necessarily make you a great prepper leader. Being prepared for the worst won’t guarantee that anyone else will view you as a leader either. The saying goes if you are leading and nobody is following you, then you are only taking a walk. I bring this up because I do think that some preppers expect to be in charge when the grid goes down and more than a few might be looking forward to the idea. They might be saying to themselves, “Hey I saved up all of these supplies and I made plans so I get to decide what happens now.” With this attitude they would be saying that it is their way or the highway no matter what. If this is you, it might be setting yourself up for a big disappointment and possibly worse.

Who looks forward to being in Prepper leadership anyway?

I think it is natural for people to want to be in charge of anything they are involved with to a certain point. If I am engaged in something, I want to see some of my ideas acted upon and instinctively I make decisions based upon what I know or think. This doesn’t mean I am the leader of anything and it certainly doesn’t make me the best leader simply because I have ideas. It also doesn’t mean my decisions will be right. In my home for example, I will usually spout off with whatever I think or believe is the best decision when my opinion is asked for. This is a horrible trait of mine that I am still working to improve. It is more important to listen sometimes (all times?) than it is to speak and my willingness to pop off with whatever is on the top of my head has gotten me in trouble more times than I care to remember.

Do you plan to be the Ruler of everything that survives?

Do you plan to be the Ruler of everything that survives?

My wife on the other hand will usually have a more even-tempered approach when asked to make a decision. This isn’t a universal law by any stretch, but the times when I am having a knee-jerk reaction (and I am flat-out wrong) are when she usually uses logic to get me to consider alternatives. What does this mean?

It means that I, even though I am supposed to be the leader of my house and family don’t always get things right. I am human and I make mistakes – a lot of them. Fortunately, they haven’t been mistakes that cost me too dearly and it isn’t like I am always wrong either. Sometimes, I quickly pop off a great idea or a wise thought but again that isn’t all of the time.

Leading people during crisis will be tough

For a long time I assumed that in a crisis, for my family at least, I would have the first and likely last word on everything we would be doing. I figured, like so many others that I have been giving these subjects more thought than anyone else in my family so who could question my decisions? If I say it is time to bug out, we go. If I say we aren’t going to give charity to someone, we don’t. If I say someone must die for heinous offenses, who would argue with me?

Over the years I have learned; like I mentioned above, that I don’t always have the right answers but I do always have an answer. I think I know what is right in every situation but sometimes when I learn more information or consider things differently I will change my mind. In a life and death situation the decisions you make could be just that. Life or Death to yourself, your family or to strangers you don’t even know. If I find myself in a situation where people are looking to me for leadership I will try to remember that this is a heavy responsibility. It is not a title I will have been given simply because I have purchased supplies. It is not a supreme right I have that empowers me above anyone else purely because I have chosen to lead this lifestyle of preparedness. Leaders aren’t anything more than the ones held responsible for the lives entrusted to their care. Leadership doesn’t come with more wisdom or better ideas. That happens in spite of the responsibility of the position.  Leadership requires trust and respect of the people you are leading. If you don’t have that, you are just a dictator.

Simply being in charge doesn't make you more qualified, or smarter than anyone else.

Simply being in charge doesn’t make you more qualified, or smarter than anyone else.

What good is prepping if you aren’t in charge?

Prepping for me personally is not something I do because I am looking to set up my own dictatorship if/when the grid goes down. I don’t have visions of being the Mayor of Bartertown or anything closely resembling that. I do think that I will likely have a lot of good ideas if I find myself in that type of situation, but I am not running a campaign for the next Dear Leader of Armageddon. I don’t really want to be in charge of anything more than my family if I am being honest. Depending on the size of the family I am fortunate enough to be responsible for, that might be a shared leadership in any case. A reader of our blog said that they could see themselves more in a second in command role. Ready, willing and able to offer advice or support as needed and that is an easy vision for me to see for myself in any crisis.

To those who steadfastly demand that you will be in charge of everything should the world go sideways, that might not work out the way you want it to. History has shown that people will follow a good leader to the ends of the earth, but bad leaders usually fall in some way. Rather than having the mind of a dictator who will make the final say in all matters once the grid goes down from behind the scope of a long rifle and a mountain of beans, you might look at this another way.

Preppers I think will be natural targets of attention in a crisis once their status is known. This can be a good thing if you make wise decisions. It could get you killed if you have the “screw them all” attitude. Sure you can hide as long as you want and practice Grey Man but if all goes well you will still be alive, unless the rest of the world dies. Since you obviously know a thing or two by the fact of your evident life, people may look to you for help, guidance and perhaps leadership. Make sure this is a decision you do not make lightly and do not wish for foolishly.

Prepping gives you options that people who do not prepare might not have. One of these options is knowledge, perspective and hopefully a more reasoned, carefully thought out plan. Use this to make lives better after a disaster. Don’t plan on taking that all to the grave with you or let your rush to dictate, force someone to decide your time is up for the good of everyone else.

The post Prepper Leadership – Do You Know What Role Is Best for You? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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Best Prepper Resources and Recommendationshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/29/best-prepper-resources-and-recommendations/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/29/best-prepper-resources-and-recommendations/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 22:13:11 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14489 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Since I started the Prepper Journal I have always believed that everyone benefits from as much information, discussion and sometimes debate as possible. No single person has all of the answers, but I think collectively great ideas come to the surface. I have my own opinions on practically everything out there but I won’t say […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Since I started the Prepper Journal I have always believed that everyone benefits from as much information, discussion and sometimes debate as possible. No single person has all of the answers, but I think collectively great ideas come to the surface. I have my own opinions on practically everything out there but I won’t say that I know all about any subject. I have also had my mind changed on more than one occasion by the thoughts and theories I have read elsewhere on the subjects we discuss about prepping and survival.

To that end I wanted to share some of the best prepper resources I have come across in my preparedness journey with the readers of the Prepper Journal. I think that so many of these sites, prepper gear ideas and even books could be valuable to everyone and I believe anything that I personally use, read or recommend is worth sharing with the rest of the world.

This post will be my ideas on some of the best prepper resources and recommendations in the following categories.

  • Best Prepper Gear that can save your life
  • Best Prepper Books that can give you information when the grid goes down
  • Best Prepper Blogs that can teach you various subjects in the field of prepping and survival

These are just my current opinions and like I mentioned above are all subject to change. Some of these items are listed on my Prepper Essentials page and other links can be found on my Prepper Resources page as well. These two pages will always be links in the navigation bar at the top for future reference.

Best Prepper Gear

The best prepper gear is what you have available to you. In most cases that would be your EDC gear. The best gear in the world is worthless if it is packed away in your attic and you are stuck on some business trip hundreds of miles away from home.

Fenix170Fenix 170 Lumens Flashlight – Great for using on your keychain or as backup to a larger light.SpydercoTenaciousSpyderco Tenacious – Great folder that you can carry with you almost anywhere.LeathermanLeatherman Wave – Thousands of uses and small enough to always have on you.
LeathermanSquirtLeatherman Squirt – This is the Leatherman Wave’s smaller brother and I do mean smaller. This is on my key-chain and is for times when I can’t really wear my big Leatherman on my belt or throw it in a bag.BandanaBandana – No, they aren’t only for blowing your nose, they can be used as a bandage or to filter water to remove large particles.FenixPD22Fenix PD22 – Another flashlight? Yes, this goes in my pocket and when I don’t have my keys, this is always with me. 512 Lumens!
CasioPathfinderCasio Pathfinder – Great watch that includes several features that could aid in survival or at least make a trip into the woods better.ZippoLighter – You should have some way to make fire using something like this Zippo or even a regular Bic lighter.
Shemagh – You don’t have to be fighting in the Middle East to appreciate the versatility of this garment. Useful in so many ways, this makes a great addition to your prepper gear.

 

Best Bug Out Bag Items:

When you have to get out of dodge, there are some basic preparations you should already have packed and ready to go. These are great prepping items for your bug out bag.

NalgeenStainlessWater Bottle: Stainless – You need a way to carry water in your Bug Out Bag, but you don’t have to go the stainless steel route. The benefit of this is that you can boil this canister over a fire if your water is suspect.PlasticNalgeneWater Bottle: Plastic – This is what I used to carry daily but still take this backpacking instead of the stainless. It is a pretty good bit lighter and quieter.NalgeneBladderNalgene 48-Ounce Bladder – This bladder is a great companion to your water filtration system by allowing you to fill an additional reservoir.
SawyerMiniSawyer Mini Water Filter – It only weighs 2 ounces so if you are looking to lighten your backpack, this is the water filter for you. 100,000 gallon capacity.RainFlyENO Rain Fly – Great lightweight option for shelter over your head. Instead of packing a tent, you can just string a rain fly between two trees.FoodRationsEmergency Rations – There are a lot of options for bug out bag food, but these emergency rations stand up to years baking in the trunk of your car.
Recon3SleepingBagESS Recon 3 Sleeping Bag – Lightweight and fairly compact. These bags are rated down to 23 degrees.BivvyAdventure Medical Kits Bivvy – Last ditch survival or a shelter in a pinch. This emergency bivvy is lightweight but could save you from exposure.FreezeDriedMountain House Freeze Dried Chili Mac – No, they aren’t the healthiest option, but they are very filling, lightweight and only require hot water and a spoon. These are my go-to Backpacking meals for simplicity.
FiresteelFire starter – Matches can get wet and lighters can run out of fuel. It will take a long time of making fires before this old style method doesn’t work. It is a great backup.JetboilFlashJetboil Flash – There are lighter options out there, but this unit is simple and mostly self-contained. Perfect for quickly heating up water for coffee or Freeze dried food.GerberLMFGerber LMF II – Folders are great for around town, but if I am walking out the door never to come back, I want a serious survival knife. The Gerber LMF II is great and reasonably priced.

 

Best Prepping Books and Reference Material

Survival Manuals – Great introduction to the concepts of survival.  The first book I read on the subject was the SAS survival guide and that really opened up a lot of areas for me. I quickly found How to Survive the End of the World as we know it when I got more into Prepping.

Homesteading and Self-Reliance – If we do find ourselves on the other side of oblivion, these books below are great resources you can use to start feeding yourself again.

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Natural Remedies/ First Aid – Natural Remedies are available for thousands of ailments that we take prescription medicine for now and most can be found within a short walk away from your home. When the grid goes down, you will want to ensure you have reference material like this to make your own medicine.

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Tactical Methods / Strategies / Security – Unfortunately, I believe that security will be a major part of any life after a grid-down event. Knowing the skills you need to keep yourself alive and practicing them often will be very necessary if you want to survive.

Best Prepper Blogs

These are in no particular order.

  1. SHTF Plan – Mac Slavo runs this blog that is an excellent read everyday for a ton of new information. Most of the content is current events based around Economic issues, government tyranny or anything that preppers need to be warned about.  This is on my daily read list.
  2. Prepper Website – Todd Sepulveda runs this amazing resource of links to a myriad of prepping sites and content. Prepper Website is the Drudge Report of Prepping and if you could only have one place to go for information, the Prepper Website will have something interesting every day.
  3. Survival Sherpa – Run by another Todd. Todd Walker used to be Daniel Boone in another life I think. His site offers so much information on how to live and create useful items naturally. Full of incredibly instructive posts and ideas.
  4. ITS Tactical – More on the military side of prepping, ITS Tactical is run by Bryan Black and is always full of detailed posts with beautiful images clearly explaining a ton of concepts that could come in handy to anyone from the lowly prepper to backpacker. ITS Tactical frequently features articles from Special Forces veterans.
  5. Ready Nutrition – Tess Pennington has a somewhat eclectic offering of information on her site but it makes for a very interesting read. She covers everything from prepping to self-sufficiency to awareness of health issues. She also has at least two books out, The Prepper’s Blueprint and The Prepper’s Cookbook.
  6. The Survival Mom – Lisa Bedford is the Queen of Prepping Women. (I really hope that doesn’t land me in hot water.) who first came to my attention several years back. I actually gave my oldest daughter a copy of Lisa’s book, The Survival Mom because I thought she could relate to Lisa’s content better than my own.  Fortunately I was right and my daughter has since discussed prepping with me frequently. Lisa’s site is full of resources for preppers, even men too.
  7. Organic Prepper – Daisy Luther runs the Organic Prepper. Along with being a successful writer herself of two books: The Pantry Primer – How to build a one year food supply and her latest, The Organic Canner, Daisy writes about Preparedness, Health Issues, saving money and resisting tyranny in all forms.
  8. Gray Wolf Survival  – Gray Wolf Survival is another great resource for Preppers. Scott Kelly doesn’t post articles every day but when he does, his posts are incredibly detailed and packed with information. Check out his site for informative tips and how-tos.
  9. Survival Blog – The originator, not the imitator. Survival Blog was the first prepping blog I started reading and I still check in every day. James Wesley Rawles started Survival blog and relies on content from readers who submit articles for his contests that give away valuable prizes every couple of months. If you have any question on prepping, self-sufficiency, firearms or homesteading, Survival Blog will likely have the answers buried in its massive index.
  10. Backdoor Survival -Gaye Levy is another woman who ceaselessly writes on subjects important to preppers. Gaye writes about a lot of different topics, holds frequent book reviews and interviews major authors in the Prepper Genre as well as shares homeopathic health remedies.

These are by no means all of the sites that provide great information out here. There are literally hundreds of prepping resources and you can find more links on the sites below:

I hope this list of prepper resources helps you on your preparedness journey.

The post Best Prepper Resources and Recommendations appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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How to Prepare for a Floodhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/27/how-to-prepare-for-a-flood/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/27/how-to-prepare-for-a-flood/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 01:12:08 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14464 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Most of you have heard the news now of the devastating floods in Wimberley Texas that occurred over the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who are suffering there now and can only offer our hope for their peace and healing. From what I have heard, this flood was fast moving […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Most of you have heard the news now of the devastating floods in Wimberley Texas that occurred over the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who are suffering there now and can only offer our hope for their peace and healing. From what I have heard, this flood was fast moving after 6 inches of rain fell North of Wimberley last Sunday. The region is also known as Flash Flood Alley because of its reputation as the most flood prone area in the country. Even with that nick-name, this flood was severe and worse than all-time water levels since the 20’s.

Floods are common in many areas around the world though and even if you live far away from “Flood Alley” you could find yourself impacted by walls of water that at a minimum can cause some minor inconvenience to a huge loss of life and property. As preppers, we want to make sure we aren’t forgetting about Mother Nature when we make our plans to keep our family safe so I wanted to write down some steps you can take to prepare for a flood that might protect your family or allow you to help someone who has been affected by a flood.

Preparing for a flood

Map of the flood plain in an area near Wimberley, TX as see from the FEMA maps.

Map of the flood plain in an area near Wimberley, TX as see from the FEMA flood map service center.

Before you build your home

Since Katrina there has been a greater focus on the risks of flood damage in our country. Some people are even advocating that everyone, regardless of where they live obtain a flood insurance policy. I think that is a little ridiculous, but we can take some fairly reasonable steps to avoid the most likely places for a flood in the first place.

A flood plain is an area of land that is at risk for flooding. This is usually because it has flooded at some point in the past due to a river or some other body of water like a river or a stream overflowing its banks. Katrina had the levees that were breached and all of the water they were holding back ran into New Orleans. River banks can be overrun just as easily if the water level rises above their height. Anyone caught in the area surrounding that over run of water is in the path of the flood.

A weather alert radio can send you audible alarms to alert you to approaching floods or tornados.

You can easily check if your property is located in a flood plain before you build by going to FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. On this site you can put your address in and click on the View Map icon to the left of the page once you find your grid to see if the property you want to build on is in a flood plain. I ran this for some land in Wimberley and you can see the historical flood paths to avoid (image above).

When there is a threat of a flood

Not being in a place where there is even the remotest chance of flood would be the best way to avoid getting in this situation  but  sometimes you have to deal with the disaster you get offered up. If you hear of the possibility of a flood there are some steps you need to take.

Stay up to date with the local forecast conditions – By this I mean keep your news on or purchase a battery powered radio with weather band. Some models like the Midland WR120EZ NOAA Weather Alert will automatically receive weather related alerts and sound an alarm in case you weren’t paying attention. These are also useful for Tornado alerts where time is of the essence.

Have a plan to bug out – This doesn’t have to be walking away from doomsday but it could be a quick exit to higher ground or a safer location. If you are in an area prone to flooding or if your local news is anticipating flooding you need to be prepared to leave quickly. This means having bags packed with your prepping supplies that you need to live on for the duration of the event and possibly longer. Make sure you have a few alternate routes out of your neighborhood and that your vehicle is equipped for the conditions on the roads.

Have a plan to bug in after a disaster – Flood waters might not reach your location but that doesn’t mean you will come out of the flood unaffected. Even people who didn’t see any water during Katrina were forced to live without water, electricity and the benefits of the local police for weeks. Your prepping plans don’t have to always end with you riding towards the sunset in your bug out vehicle, you may just be stuck where you are. This could give you the opportunity to help some of your neighbors out.

Cleaning up is a nasty but horrible part of the aftermath of any flood.

Cleaning up is a nasty but horrible part of the aftermath of any flood.

Cleanup after a flood

If you are fortunate enough to live through this nightmare but your home or possessions aren’t there are several considerations to consider when the water has receded and the cleanup must begin. Cleaning isn’t simple and it isn’t going to be fun but it is very necessary.

  • Shovel out all mud and debris. Wash mud off of everything that was contaminated. The mud dredged up from river bottoms smells incredibly bad and could be full of toxins.
  • Clean and disinfect every surface. This is another good reason to have the ability to make your own bleach from Calcium Hypochlorite. This includes everything you would eat off of and all surfaces contaminated with the flood waters.
  • Take everything that is salvageable outside to dry as quickly as possible.
  • Wall boards that have become wet will need to be removed at least to the water level and any insulation will have to come out as well.
  • Carpet and rugs that were flooded are best thrown out. Some wooden floors can be salvaged if they are allowed to dry properly
  • Ensure you have clean water – Don’t drink any well water until it has been cleared
  • Electricity shouldn’t be used until it has been inspected.
  • Check your home’s foundation for cracks.

There are many other considerations for the aftermath of a flood that fall well within the context of our standard preps we discuss on the Prepper Journal. Make sure you have an adequate supply of food to ride out this crisis. Of course, if your food is destroyed by water it would be necessary to clear that out too. Water should be stored and you should also have a way of filtering water to make it safe for drinking and cooking.

Lastly, security was an issue in both Katrina, Sandy and I suspect we might see some of that from this latest disaster. Make sure you are prepared to defend yourself from the unscrupulous who always seem to appear when there are people to be taken advantage of. The last thing you need after a disaster is to lose what little you had that survived to some criminal.

What flood preparedness ideas do you have for surviving?

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Know the Alternate Escape Routes from Your Neighborhoodhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/26/know-the-alternate-escape-routes-from-your-neighborhood/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/26/know-the-alternate-escape-routes-from-your-neighborhood/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 00:37:58 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=14455 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Pop quiz. If you had to leave your neighborhood and the route you normally take was blocked would you have an alternate way out? What if the alternate was blocked? What if all roads out of your neighborhood were blocked by military check-points? Would you have a backup escape route or would you be trapped […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Pop quiz. If you had to leave your neighborhood and the route you normally take was blocked would you have an alternate way out? What if the alternate was blocked? What if all roads out of your neighborhood were blocked by military check-points? Would you have a backup escape route or would you be trapped staring at the lights ahead wishing you had made it out sooner?

Most days when I am driving home from work my mind is on autopilot. I make the turns I normally make, engage my turn signal at the proper time and generally drive the correct speed without even looking at the gauge on my dash. I do this not because I am a robot, but because I have done this so many times the actions are ingrained into my muscle memory. I am sure it is this way for many of you who drive to work every day.

But have you ever stopped to think of your escape routes during an emergency? What if the normal paths you take aren’t available? What if you aren’t even able to take your vehicle? Does your bug out plan allow you to get creative or are you hoping for the best? For those of us who live in more rural/suburban settings, driving our vehicles everywhere is almost taken for granted. We rarely get out and explore the world outside of these paved streets but knowing what is out there could be the key to your survival if you find yourself depending on alternate route options. Knowing your area by foot could save your life in the right circumstances.

Going off-road

Knowing the roads out of your neighborhood is pretty simple and I would bet that most of us have that down already but could you go off-road if the way was blocked? Could you cut across a field or through the back of a neighbor’s yard to get out to another road? Have you ever considered that at all? In a recent post I mentioned the need for a bug out vehicle that had the capability to go off-road and this is a good example where that could be necessary. Maybe it isn’t the road out of your neighborhood, but it is a major road that you would normally take to get out-of-town and it is blocked. A line of cars stretches before you and you can see a roadblock ahead. What do you do now?

Ideally you would have considered all of this well in advance. I routinely go for walks through my neighborhood. Usually I stick to the roads, but there are also trails near where I live so me and the survival dog will check those out from time to time. I live on the outskirts of a decent sized city right in the middle of too many and too few people. A few miles in either direction puts me solidly into rural farmland or the congestion of downtown.

I know the best option is to move but I am where I am for now so my prepping so far has been looking at ways I can avoid getting stuck in a trap should something block our access out.

A creek might make vehicle traffic impossible but it is an alternate way out on foot.

A creek might make vehicle traffic impossible but it is an alternate way out on foot.

Identify any natural boundaries that could block you in

The area I live in has mild hills around. There is a pretty good-sized creek on my southern border that I would be able to cross on foot if needed, but I also know areas where the banks are low enough to allow a properly equipped 4 wheeler to cross also. Getting across the creek is one obstacle that could give me an alternate way out if all the other methods were blocked.

In addition to the creek I have property between me and all of the major roads. Some of this property is fenced, but bolt cutters would allow me to cut through any fence if needed. Once on the other side of the fence, I could follow woods through other yards to come out well down the road, potentially avoiding the road block. There are other routes that could take me through public land where radio towers are mounted, possibly down power line right-of-ways to make alternate tracks out of the area.

None of this is rocket surgery it just takes the normal plans we might make when we are preparing our families for some evacuation need and takes them a step further. Each of us can get out of our car and spend a couple of hours every month or so surveying our neighborhood. Maybe you don’t have creeks and woods to worry about; perhaps your neighborhood is alleys and blocks of large buildings. There will still be options if you are looking the right way.

When was the last time you took a closer look at your immediate surroundings? Do you know who has fences in their yard and who doesn’t? Do you know who is rarely home or who leaves their trash cans by the road for a couple of days after pick-up? Do you know the area around your neighborhood from an aerial perspective? Google Earth or even Google maps is a great way to pretend you have your own drone and you are conducting surveillance of your territory. Start in on your property and zoom or pan out to see details you might have missed driving by. This information could give you options when it looks like there are none.

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